Carolina Panthers’ tycoon owner David Tepper has outlined plans for a new stadium in Charlotte as he seeks to create the US region’s leading sports entertainment venue.
Tepper, the billionaire hedge fund manager, wants a stadium with a retractable roof to be constructed close to the team’s existing Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte within the next 10 years with the hope of it attracting major events beyond National Football League (NFL) fixtures.
In particular Tepper, who bought the Carolina Panthers for $2.3bn last year, wants to attract the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four and a Major League Soccer team.
Charlotte is the most populous city in the Carolinas, with 2.6m people living in its metropolitan area.
“Charlotte is the centre of the Carolinas and it is untapped territory,” Tepper said. “We’re starting to move that way.
“If we do football, and if we do end up with a soccer franchise, and then have all the other events there — have a Final Four there — that would be the cherry on top. It’s not like idle chatter; it’s something I’d really like to see done. To say that I’m going to do it in the next year, that’s not true. But to put something out in the future — say hey to the governor of North Carolina, to the mayor of Charlotte, we need to be aspirational because this is a great area. We need to realise how great it can be.
“If we can do it someplace near where we are, we can have so many people walking to the stadium. That’s just a great place for a stadium. So you would like to be as close to where you are now in the future. There is different land around (the existing stadium) and we may be able to do something.”
Tepper said he has not yet progressed plans for a new stadium with local and state authorities. The team is soon to break ground on a new practice facility across the border in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Bank of America Stadium opened in 1996 and has a capacity of 75,500.
Image: redlegsfan21 (Flickr)