Panthers' brass meets with state officials for stadium money

Panthers' brass meets with state officials for stadium money

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 6:35 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers met lawmakers in Raleigh today to ask for millions of dollars in state funds to help upgrade Bank of America Stadium.

Owner Jerry Richardson and team president Danny Morrison met with Mecklenburg County delegates Wednesday morning.

City leaders and attorneys asked for $62.5 million from the state for renovations to Bank of America Stadium.

Charlotte's City Council is backing a plan to give the Panthers nearly $144 million from a food and beverage tax increase to pay for stadium upgrades and the team is seeking more than $62 million in state funds.

(Dollar-by-dollar breakdown of Panthers stadium upgrades)

The primary objectives include installing three escalators to reach the upper level, new video and ribbon boards and an improved sound system, as well as upgrading technology and stadium infrastructure.

In the deal the Panthers will contribute $96.25 million over the next 15 years.  The state would supply $62.5 million, with that money coming from the aforementioned food and beverage tax.

Over the next 15 years, $143.75 million in taxpayer money from Charlotte would come from the proceeds of a one percent addition to the food and beverage tax in Mecklenburg County.

If finalized, the move guarantees the Panthers stay in uptown for the next 15 years--even if ownership changes. 

In a statement sent out last Friday, the city said the public will have the opportunity to weigh in before City Council moves forward this spring.

Morrison says the Panthers' goal is to "improve the overall experience for all 74,000 fans."

To approve the deal, the General Assembly in Raleigh would have to approve as well as City Council in a formal vote this spring.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on agreement before City Council takes its final action.

Bank of America Stadium is the twenty-fifth oldest stadium in the NFL, at 17-years.

Owner Jerry Richardson said in the meeting Wednesday morning he has no plans to relocate the Panthers, as long as he is the owner of the team. He added that he's invested $775 million of his own money into the team.

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