CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers are one step closer to staying in Charlotte after the City Economic Development Committee meeting Thursday.
After disappointing news that the state refused to kick in funding and turned down a food and beverage tax, city officials say it's now up to the city of Charlotte to keep the Panthers here.
"The best tether of all for Charlotte is Jerry Richardson; he's been the best tether of all-- he wants the team to be in the Carolinas," said Panthers President, Danny Morrison.
And after Thursday's 4-0 vote to accept the city's new proposal, it looks as though the Panthers are one step closer to staying for sure.
"We feel very comfortable; it's a great model for the Panthers, great model for city of Charlotte and protect ourselves should something happens and the team relocates," said Committee Chair, Councilman James Mitchell.
The new proposal includes $112.5 million in stadium capital improvements over 10 years-- $75 million coming from the city and $37.5 from the Panthers.
When you add in maintenance and traffic control, the city investment would be $87.5 million of money that's been freed up to use from the Convention Center funds.
"It's important for us to keep the asset we have developed since 1995 in our city, so whether it's six years or 10 years, we had to get the deal done," said Mitchell.
Out of the 10-year deal, only six are a hard tether, so the Panthers could opt out of the last four years, but Morrison says they see it as a 10-year deal and are ready to move forward.
"We're focused right now on the escalator project. We're focused on the video boards, the ribbon boards and the technology side, so that's our emphasis at this point," said Morrison.
Now it's up to the entire council to seal the deal.
"Monday night have to be that we say, ‘Are we going to play football in our community’ and I think we need to say on Monday night, ‘Yes we want them here," said Mitchell.