Panthers Owner Wants Retractable-Roof Stadium In Charlotte By '30
NFL Panthers Owner David Tepper "dreams" of a new stadium in Charlotte with a "retractable roof to be built within the next decade that could host not only NFL football, but set up North Carolina" to host an NCAA Final Four for the first time since '94, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Such a stadium could also "fast-track" an MLS team and "establish Charlotte as a true epicenter of the Carolinas for sports and entertainment." Tepper said, "I've been talking about some sort of a new stadium. It's really a whole, big statewide sort of deal." He added, "If we do football, and if we do end up with a soccer franchise, and then have all the other events there -- have a Final Four there -- that would be the cherry on top. It's not like idle chatter; it's something I'd really like to see done. To say that I'm going to do it in the next year, that's not true." Tepper also said he would like any new stadium to "be as close" as possible to Bank of America Stadium's current location (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/1). SBJ's Ben Fischer highlighted Tepper's plans for a new stadium in this week's issue.
A CLOSER LOOK: Charlotte-based WCNC-NBC’s Fred Shropshire said Tepper “made it clear the current stadium doesn’t have all the bells and whistles he would like." Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston said of tax dollars being used, “It’s kind of just the way these work now … and investment in the stadium would come from that hotel/motel tourism tax. It’s same way we’re paying for the improvements to the convention center and for those types of things that’s what that bank of money is there for" (WCNC-NBC, 7/31). In Charlotte, Katie Peralta noted a new stadium like the one Tepper has described would "likely cost more" than $1B and "require taxpayer funds." When Tepper was a Steelers investor, that team "used incentives from the city, county and state to help build its stadium and surrounding areas" (CHARLOTTEAGENDA.com, 7/31). THE ATHLETIC's Jourdan Rodrigue noted over the past year, Tepper has "pumped out multiple infrastructure projects, the most noteworthy of which being the indoor practice bubble," and the "several hundred acres the team has secured in Rock Hill, S.C., for a new mixed-use practice facility and team headquarters" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/31).
SHOWING COMMITMENT: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes the city is "stronger with the Panthers than without them." So, as long as Tepper invests his money into the team, Charlotte "should supplement his investment" with taxpayer funds for a new stadium. Tepper's business "comes with a price." If Tepper builds a new stadium, local businesses will "scramble to get close" to it, and since it will "offer a retractable roof, Charlotte will host its first Super Bowl." If Tepper has "shown us anything" since he bought the Panthers last year, it is that he is "committed to the Carolinas" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/1).