Richardson: I went to bat for Charlotte by persuading commissioner to move day of league opener
During the first meeting to discuss stadium renovations at Bank of America Stadium in January, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson reminded city leaders he had not only provided Bank of America Stadium for the finale of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, but he also assured it a larger TV audience than might have happened otherwise. (Rain ultimately forced the event to be relocated to Time Warner Cable Arena.)
Richardson, who co-chaired the search that led to the hiring of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, called in a major favor from the commissioner. President Obama’s acceptance speech at the stadium was scheduled for the first Thursday in September, the same night the first nationally televised NFL game of the regular season would air on NBC. The NFL moved the game a day earlier, and Richardson explained the genesis of that move to Charlotte City Council members in a brief monologue that, no doubt, had the intended effect.
|Roger Goodell and Jerry Richardson
The two men resumed their conversation the next morning. Goodell responded that the only time the NFL had made a similar move was during World War II, and he called Richardson’s request a big one.
Richardson’s response: “Well, we’ve got a big problem down in Charlotte.” Goodell reminded Richardson that 31 owners had to be considered, too.
“I said, ‘No, you don’t. Don’t ask them; go ahead and make a decision,’” Richardson said. “As you know, he did and [the Wednesday night game] is what happened.”