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Panthers seek help for stadium improvements
But Shirley Parker wonders if the team should ask for taxpayer dollars.
“Do they really need the money? Why can’t they pay for it themselves? Why do sports teams always turn to the public?” asked the 55-year-old teacher.
Mayor Anthony Foxx has declined to discuss the talks. But he said this week that the city would like to build on the success of this past summer’s three-day Democratic National Convention, which drew 35,000 people to Charlotte and pumped nearly $164 million into the local economy. That includes bidding to host a Super Bowl.
Charlotte is home to the headquarters of Bank of America and major operations for Wells Fargo, two of the largest U.S. financial institutions. Both are in the central business district, within walking distance of the stadium.
The Panthers‘ stadium, which cost $190 million, was completed in 1996.
It was paid for with private money collected through the sale of permanent seat licenses or PSLs, with the Panthers being the first NFL franchise to use that marketing model to raise money.
Seventeen years later, Bank of America Stadium is considered a middle-aged stadium by NFL standards. Of the 31 stadiums in the league _ the Giants and Jets share one in New Jersey _ 25 have either been built or undergone renovations in excess of $100 million since the Panthers opened their facility. Three others in Atlanta, San Francisco and Minnesota are in the midst of either rebuilding or new stadium construction.
Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium is considered a comparable stadium and it received a $375 million facelift in 2010.
The Panthers invested more than $48 million in recent years on new scoreboards, club level seating and upgraded workout and equipment rooms.
Public stadiums dotted the map for most of the 20th century, but the pace of public-private partnerships for new construction or renovation projects has accelerated over the past two decades.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones now controls a $1.15 billion stadium that Arlington, Texas, voters helped finance with increases in sales and hotel taxes. In Indianapolis, the state owns 4-year-old Lucas Oil Stadium, for which the state, city and surrounding counties covered most of the $720 million construction cost.
Gary D. Robertson contributed to the story
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