Can the Carolina Panthers keep up with the NFL’s building boom?

CHARLOTTE — A little more than five years ago, in July of 2018, David Tepper held an introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium to mark his arrival as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers.

That day, while fielding a question about the future of the Panthers’ training camp, a 22-year-old stadium and a nondescript, adjacent practice site, Tepper laid out his vision.

“One of the things that I did say is that winning is important,” he said. “One way or another, we can’t be less than competitive with other NFL teams and at this point, given our practice field and what other people have in the league, we’re falling behind a little bit.

“… (O)ne of the aspects is that we treat our players right and don’t have any disadvantages to any other teams in the league. Top priority would be thinking about that practice field.”

Heading into his sixth season as Panthers owner, Tepper remains stymied by the same issues: What to do with the stadium and how to improve and update the team’s practice and training facilities, which consist of a 7-acre, city-owned site occupied by the Panthers for decades supplemented with weight training and physical recovery areas inside the stadium.

By contrast, most NFL teams occupy standalone training hubs that house all football and administrative functions. Team headquarters typically include outdoor and indoor fields and headquarters buildings that offer spacious locker rooms and training areas as well as orthopedic medical services and on-site dining rooms. They are home to day-to-day practice sessions, summer training camp, special events with corporate sponsors, and touchpoints for fans, bringing them closer to their favorite team.

Industry analysts and power brokers in and around Charlotte credit Tepper with landing an expansion Major League Soccer team and boosting stadium use by courting concert promoters and college football games, but the overarching narrative is much more about the NFL team’s unfinished business: What does Tepper want — public funding is a must, he has said — and when does he want it?

CBJ examines the options for Charlotte and examples from across the NFL in this week’s cover story. Read it here.

(WATCH: Full circle: Panthers head to Atlanta, where first game was played 28 years ago)

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