Upgrades discussed for Bank of America stadium

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There is talk of major upgrades for Bank of America stadium.

The Panthers told Eyewitness News they're still working on their plan for the future and hope to reveal it in a few months.               

Most people assume they need a new or upgraded stadium to stay in Charlotte. The concern is: Will the team leave if we don't help them built it and who should pay up.

State Rep. Tom Rillis's office told Eyewitness News he's willing to discuss using state money for a new stadium. Of course city and county money could be involved.

Another suggestion is asking folks in neighboring counties to kick in too and some in Cabarrus County would.

The thought of paying for a new Panther stadium could be a sore subject for other folks here, who remember five years ago when Concord had to offer an $80 million incentive package to keep the speedway from leaving town with no help from Charlotte.

Sports economics expert director Andrew Zimabalest said Charlotte is vulnerable.

“In those smaller cities have less leverage if Jerry Richardson says he could move the team, it’s a real threat,” Zimabalest said.

A study earlier this year claims all Charlotte sports generate $2 billion a year in revenue, but Zimabalest argues National Football League teams rarely give back what they take.

“I don't think there’s any evidence, especially if this is done with public financing, that a football team or stadium help an area,” Zimabalest said.

There’s no arguing the Panthers create an identity and national exposure. Taxpayers may soon have to decide what that's worth.