Owner David Tepper‘s long-term vision for the Carolina Panthers includes a new retractable-roof stadium in Uptown Charlotte, but it will likely require a public buy-in to become a reality.
Since completing his purchase of the team from Jerry Richardson last year, Tepper has taken some aggressive steps in plotting the organization’s future. Some of his moves have focused specifically on the Panthers, highlighted by plans for a new team headquarters/training complex in nearby Rock Hill, SC. He has also been focused on non-football items, however, with more events at Bank of America Stadium and a potential MLS expansion team among Tepper’s goals.
Thus far, signs have pointed to Panthers possibly pursuing renovations to Bank of America Stadium that would boost fan amenities while making it more capable of hosting MLS. In the short term, that could still be the case if the MLS expansion bid is successful, but Tepper is making the argument for a new retractable-roof stadium as part of a long-term plan.
The case for a retractable-roof stadium extends beyond creating a more modern venue for NFL and MLS, and also focuses on its potential to draw future Super Bowls, Final Fours, and large concerts to Charlotte. Tepper would like to fulfill this vision in the next decade, but cautions that public money would have factor into financing a new retractable-roof stadium. More from Sports Business Journal:
But Tepper has his eyes on the big prize: a new retractable-dome stadium in uptown Charlotte at some point in the next decade that would host the Panthers, an MLS team, a robust rotation of concerts, Final Fours and Super Bowls.
He won’t do it without taxpayer help, which he said ought to be an easy sell considering the economic impact of an expanded, year-round schedule of events.
“At some point I would make a big investment if I could get the state and others on board in a new stadium that would be great for soccer and great for football,” Tepper said.
The project does need public buy-in, he added, and it’s achievable.
There are a lot of unanswered questions at this point about whether a new retractable-roof Panthers stadium could become a reality. The idea is not far enough along for there to be a firm cost estimate in place, though it is safe to expect that a new retractable-roof stadium will cost well above $1 billion. (The upcoming Las Vegas Stadium is currently estimated at $1.9 billion). While there undoubtedly some in Charlotte that would love to see the city compete with the likes of Atlanta for major sporting events, it remains to be seen if that will translate to a commitment to a public funding contribution toward a new stadium at the local and/or state levels.
With those issues in mind, it will take time to determine the viability of a new retractable-roof stadium in Uptown Charlotte. Still, Tepper is clearly thinking big in his long-term planning for the Panthers organization, and that could help shape future stadium discussions.
Image of Bank of America Stadium courtesy Carolina Panthers.
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