Charlotte leaders consider $650M toward Bank of America Stadium renovations

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte City Council is considering spending hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate Bank of America Stadium. Council will potentially provide $650 million to the construction of the renovations. In return, the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC will commit to staying in Charlotte for another 20 years.

It’s a story Channel 9′s government reporter Joe Bruno has been following for more than a year.

The funding will come from a bucket of money that can only be used for a limited number of things, one of which is upgrades to Bank of America Stadium.

For more than a year, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and the City of Charlotte have been discussing what the future of the stadium should look like. TSE said the beautiful North Carolina weather, particularly in the fall, makes a dome an unappealing option. The Panthers also said they had a study done and a consultant confirmed the stadium still has good bones.

Bruno was the only television news reporter to talk to the president of the Panthers ahead of Monday. President Kristi Coleman said the location of the stadium is perfect, which also led to the decision to upgrade the building instead of planning a new stadium.

Since David and Nicole Tepper purchased the Panthers in 2018, the number of events each year at Bank of America Stadium has risen from 13 to 40. Charlotte Assistant City Manager Tracy Dodson says the 2023 economic impact of Bank of America Stadium was $1.1 billion.

“That far exceeds a lot of our other venues that we invest in,” Dodson said. “It also supports over 9,000 jobs in the [region]. I don’t recruit companies that big or try to retain companies that big.”

Project details

The overall goal of the project is to modernize the stadium.

The Panthers want to build a park-like atmosphere outside the stadium with big LED screens that can be used for watch parties. They want to create a space for the community to gather.

The new concourses will feature upgraded concessions and local art, plus a bigger team store. There will be all-new bowl seating with a state-of-the-art sound system and new scoreboards.

A corner of the stadium will be converted to create a standing-room-only section. It’s something Coleman said she is excited for.

“The way people enjoy things now are just a little bit different. People like to stand and be social,” she said. “This will offer a new experience from that perspective and also allow people to see the beautiful skyline that we have.”

If city council approves the project, renovations would take place from 2025 to 2029. Neither the Panthers nor Charlotte FC would be displaced because of them.

Coleman says she is excited for the stadium’s future.

“It’s really a community asset and it’s so important for the community,” she said. “We’re excited to be a part of that.”

Potential council investment

Like the impact, the potential investment is big.

Charlotte City Council will consider spending $650 million on the project. Tepper Sports and Entertainment will invest $150 million during the construction phase. The Panthers are on the hook for cost overruns and will be responsible for maintenance over the next 20 years. Those maintenance costs are estimated to be $421 million.

From 2018 to now, Tepper Sports & Entertainment has invested $117 million into Bank of America stadium improvements. Costs for MLS expansion and the Atrium Health Performance Park, Charlotte FC’s headquarters and practice facility, are estimated to be a little more than $381 million.

The city’s $650 million comes from the Convention Center Fund. The fund is composed of a tax on hotel rooms and a tax on prepared food and beverages. That’s the extra 1% added on to your bar tab or bill at your favorite restaurant. Money in this fund can only be spent on upgrades to the Convention Center, amateur sports and Bank of America Stadium. It can’t be used for things like police or affordable housing.

The prepared food and beverage tax has been in place for decades but was set to end in 2038. Last year, state lawmakers voted to extend its life to 2060. That’s how the city has the funds for this project.

“The tax is generated from a lot of visitors that come to our community,” Dodson said.


June is the month of the Panthers for Charlotte City Council.

Charlotte City Council’s economic development committee meeting is going over the proposal Monday afternoon. A website launched Monday to take public comment.

Charlotte City Council will discuss the project again at 6 p.m. Monday and at council’s action review meeting on June 10.

On June 12, a special meeting will likely be called to hear from the business community on the project.

On June 17, Charlotte City Council will consider the Panthers’ rezoning request. The team wants to build a fieldhouse outside the stadium. This, and the adjoining outdoor fields, would be where the team practices.

Charlotte City Council is expected to vote on the renovation project on June 24.

Bank of America Stadium history

Bank of America Stadium, then Ericsson Stadium, first welcomed the Panthers on Aug. 3, 1996. The party kicked off for Charlotte FC on March 5, 2022.

Charlotteans voted and got vaccinated at the stadium.

In 1997, The Rolling Stones performed the first concert there and in 2021, tens of thousands of people were there to welcome them back.

Dodson said Bank of America Stadium is a true community asset and offers something for everyone.

“You remember the first time you walked in the stadium. You remember a couple of years ago when Charlotte FC came and what that first game felt like. It’s different,” she said. “You look at the city that we’ve become, which is really like a sports city. It’s a big piece of us. It’s been here for a generation. We want it here for the next generation.”

Stadium projects elsewhere

The Charlotte City Council project has a $650 million cap on city spending and includes a 20-year extension for the Panthers and Charlotte FC.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville proposed a deal this month that would put $1.4 billion toward renovating the 29-year-old, city-owned EverBank Stadium. The deal would extend the Jaguars’ lease by 30 years and include a non-relocation stipulation. The city would spend $775 million while the Jaguars would put in $625 million.

In Baltimore, $600 million from the state of Maryland will go toward an improvement project for M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens’ lease will be extended through at least the 2037 season.

The Tennessee Titans are using $1.26 billion in public funding to build a fully-enclosed stadium next to the current one. The team will put in $840 million. The deal comes with a 30-year lease for the Titans. Work begins this year.

>> Bruno will have more renderings and council reaction on Eyewitness News starting at 5 p.m.

(WATCH BELOW: Roads closed by Bank of America Stadium during helicopter-aided scoreboard repairs)

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