Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, has returned to the concert-hosting business through an agreement with promoter Live Nation, while the NFL American football franchise’s owner, David Tepper, is believed to have approached the City of Charlotte for up to $215m (£173.9m/€196m) in funding to aid his ongoing quest to land a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.
The first concert under the Live Nation deal will be a Billy Joel gig on April 18 next year. The move marks an about-turn by the Panthers, which since its formation in 1995 has adopted a stance that Bank of America Stadium would be primarily used for American football, along with certain soccer fixtures.
However, this hard line has shifted somewhat under the stewardship of Tepper, who acquired the Panthers in May 2018. Bank of America Stadium has previously hosted a Rolling Stones concert in 1997, but a show by country stars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw in June 2012 had been the last major music event at the venue.
“We have been determined over the last several months to add programming to Bank of America Stadium – more events for our city, for our community, and for our region,” Carolina Panthers president Tom Glick said, according to the Charlotte Observer newspaper. “Live music has been high on our list. It’s been our priority. And so we’re incredibly excited to announce that we’re back in the concert business at Bank of America Stadium.”
Wilson Howard, chief operating officer for Live Nation in the Carolinas and the Baltimore/D.C./Virginia markets, added: “We’ve waited a long, long time for this. We believe Bank of America Stadium will become a must-play venue for major stadium tours.”
Meanwhile, the Observer reports that Tepper may ask the City for between $100m and $215m towards Bank of America Stadium renovations and other costs associated with acquiring an MLS franchise.
Citing sources speaking after a closed city council meeting, the Observer states council members are said to have been told that Tepper would contribute over $400m in franchise fees, team salaries and other costs associated with the team. The city’s funding would go towards stadium upgrades, as well as a practice centre and team office.
Officials are said to have told the council that MLS could award a new franchise within weeks. Bank of America Stadium is an established soccer venue and in July claimed a first by agreeing a five-year deal to host International Champions Cup (ICC) matches.
Tepper set out his intention to land an MLS team after acquiring the Panthers last summer. Asked about MLS yesterday (Tuesday), Glick said: “We continue to be in very close contact with the (MLS) commissioner’s office (regarding expansion). There’s no timetable, but we’re very confident in our candidacy. We don’t have any further update than that right now.”