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'This is definitely going to provide a great spark' | Charlotte businesses prepare for game day crowds with Cam Newton's return

The owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille said the crowds on game days have been dwindling throughout the season, and this may bring a spark back to the fan base.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Businesses in Charlotte are gearing up Cam Newton’s return to the gridiron in a Carolina Panthers jersey and the crowds that will come out to watch him back in action.

Dilworth Neighborhood Grille has Cam Newton memorabilia on display as soon as customers walk through the door.

Owner Matt Wohlfarth said he’s a fan of Newton and the business that has been brought into the sports bar when the team has been playing well, especially in the 2015 season.

"We literally had people standing in the street watching TV cause we were just so full,” Wohlfarth said. “And financially, as far as impact on a business, the difference between that year and the Chris Weinke 1 and 15 season, you can't even compare it."

Wohlfarth said business has been slow on game days this season. The Panthers are 4-5 without Newton.

"You could tell every week that attendance was just going down, down, at the stadium and here,” Wohlfarth said. "So this is definitely going to provide a great spark."

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Wohlfarth said he’s hoping Newton can give the team and town a much-needed boost with some wins.

"Wins are thousands of dollars extra, and losses work the other way,” Wohlfarth added. “You lose a lot of money that way."

While Wohlfarth isn’t sure this move will get the Panthers into the playoffs or deep into the playoffs, it gives fans a reason to look forward to game days.

“At least there is something to talk about,” Wohlfarth said. “There is some hope now."

A team spokesperson said the Panthers saw an increase in ticket sales after Cam Newton signed Thursday.

RELATED: Cam Newton speaks to the media for 1st time since rejoining Panthers

According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Uptown hotels experienced increased business when the Panthers played at home in 2019, with a 23% lift in revenue over the course of the eight home games that season. When the Panthers played a Thursday night prime time game that season, Uptown hotels experienced a 60% increase in revenue.

Cam Newton fan Vernon Shelton, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida, told WCNC Charlotte he was considering buying tickets to a game to see Superman back in action.

“I believe he will fill up the stadium,” Shelton said. “I think people are excited about his return and looking forward to seeing what he does when he comes back.”

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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