Charlotte Sports Venues To Play Host To Democratic National Convention Events
Democrats yesterday announced that they are “shortening their national convention and moving events to the Charlotte area's two largest outdoor venues,” according to Harrison & Morrill of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. President Barack Obama will “deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium,” and instead of the traditional Monday opening, organizers will “entertain tens of thousands that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway.” NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson said that the team “is not charging the convention” to use the stadium. He declined to say "how much it would rent for, but the team is believed to have charged some takers around $400,000.” A speedway official said that the track “is still negotiating terms of the Labor Day event, which could draw more than 75,000 people.” Details of the event “are sketchy,” but it “will be sponsored by the convention host committee.” It has “no fundraising restrictions” and is expected to “raise up to $15 million, in part with corporate money” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/18). In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted, "For the Panthers, hosting the president does create one inconvenience: a season opener on the road." Richardson said, "We want the city to be presented in the best light possible, and we think it was just obvious that they would want to be at a larger venue. And we were happy to do this. To accommodate this, we’re going to have to have our first regular-season game away, which is something you don’t necessarily want to give up. In this case, we were willing to do it." The first two days of the convention will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/17).