Economist: Panthers renovations do little for stadium, community

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Economist: Panthers renovations do little for stadium, community

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by BEN THOMPSON / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Follow: @BenTNews | Email

WCNC.com

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 7:21 PM

CHARLOTTE, NC -- After reports surfaced that Charlotte City Council approved a plan behind closed doors Monday night that would give the Carolina Panthers $125 million for stadium upgrades, some wonder if the investment will pay off.

The upgrades reportedly include escalators and larger video screens.

"The real problem is, the new renovations aren't going to add too much excitement to the stadium versus what we had before," said Craig Depken, professor of economics at UNC Charlotte. 

Depken has studied the impact of sports arenas on neighborhoods.  He says renovations don't typically attract a lot more fans to a stadium.  And on a wider scale, he says it doesn't impact the community much either.

"There's not going to be a lot of jobs created by this--maybe some contract work," he added.

But many leaders in Charlotte's business and sports community are hoping for more.  After nearly 20 years, some fairly argue Bank of America Stadium needs a few upgrades.  And others see it as a way to finally secure the big event many Charlottean's looking lure: the Super Bowl.

A local delegation met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in October to discuss the possibility.  Stadium upgrades are often considered to be one of the obvious first steps.

"A stadium is a stage in which the NFL presents its product to the public.  To have a stadium that is modern and competitive is critical as well," said Bob Morgan, President of Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, in October 2012.

Mayor Foxx's office wouldn't comment on Monday's closed door session or offer his views on the city giving the Panthers $125 million for stadium upgrades.  

His office said Foxx will "have more to say on this at a later date."

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