NFL Panthers, City Of Charlotte Reach Deal For Scaled-Back Renovations
The city of Charlotte and the NFL Panthers have reached a deal in which the city would contribute $87.5M for "scaled-back renovations to Bank of America Stadium in exchange for a six-year 'hard tether' to keep the team in Charlotte," according to a front-page piece by Steve Harrison of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The City Council is expected to "approve the proposal Monday night." The agreement also has what the city has "characterized as a four-year 'soft tether' after that." In those four years, the team has "agreed to stay in the city, though it would be relatively easy for the Panthers to move in years 7 through 10 of the deal." The "short length of the firm commitment to Charlotte could mean the City Council will negotiate with the team again, as soon as after the 2016 season, when Bank of America Stadium will be 23 years old." Panthers President Danny Morrison said that it would be "'premature' to speculate on whether the team would consider a new stadium at that point." Harrison notes the team's initial proposal called for a $250M stadium renovation which would have seen the city contribute $125M. Under that deal, the state "would have paid" $62.5M, and the Panthers "would have spent" $62.5M for stadium improvements and $15M for maintenance. For that, the Panthers "would have been bound to Charlotte for 15 years." But that was rejected by legislators. A "number of projects won't move forward because the team has less money than planned." Among the cuts are $29M for "club seats and suite improvements," $30M for a new practice facility and $16M for "larger entry gates, a larger ticket office and a new team store." Morrison did say that the "scaled-back renovations would make Bank of America Stadium equipped to host a Super Bowl" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/19).