Design & Development

Carolina Panthers stadium plan gets $650m backing from council

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Carolina Panthers’ redevelopment of Bank of America Stadium has taken a leap forward after the local authority approved a $650m investment.

Charlotte City Council voted 7-3 in favour of a 20-year partnership with stadium operator Tepper Sports & Entertainment (TSE), with both parties investing a combined $1.3bn. Under the terms of the deal, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers will stay in the city of Charlotte for at least the next 20 years.

The project, outlined earlier this month, will focus on enhancing the fan and player experience and modernising the infrastructure of a stadium that opened in 1996, making it one of the oldest venues in the NFL. Upgrades will include a state-of-the-art sound system, scoreboard and video boards, new social areas with skyline views, improved concessions with regional offerings, and an expanded team store. The initial upgrades are slated to be carried out between 2025 and 2029.

David Tepper, TSE’s owner, said: “Today’s vote by the Charlotte City Council is the culmination of many thoughtful discussions with city officials, local leaders, and our fans to create a shared vision for Bank of America Stadium.

“For nearly 30 years, Charlotte has been the home of the Carolina Panthers and, more recently, Charlotte FC. We are proud to be in the Carolinas and look forward to delivering a venue that meets the needs of our community, players, and fans for years to come.”

Council disagreements over stadium backing

The city council’s backing was far from unanimous, with one of the 10 members storming out of the meeting. Councilmember Tiawana Brown said a poll shows that 60% of residents oppose public funding for the stadium. Another complained that the finer details of the project had still not been submitted.

Councilmember Tariq Bokhari said that while he is typically against taxpayer dollars funding stadiums, he felt the deal was fair. He cited data which predicts the stadium will have paid for itself by year 12 of the 20-year deal. The city’s investment does not require any new or increased taxes. It will be funded by existing hospitality and tourism tax resources, which are legally required by the state to be spent on projects to support the city’s tourism economy.

Under the terms of the deal, the City of Charlotte will commit a fixed investment of $650m over the term of the deal. TSE will put in at least $688m, including $117m that was invested prior to June 2024. The figure will also include $150m towards the renovation plus potential overages, and an estimated $421m for capital improvements over the term of the deal.

TSE will implement a minority-owned and small business enterprises strategy that aligns with Charlotte Business Inclusion programme priorities and needs.

Other elements of the redevelopment will include brand-new seats throughout the stadium bowl, improved accessibility, stadium safety and security enhancements such as illuminated wayfinding, and a reimagined South Lawn Pavilion area.

Bathrooms will also be upgraded, while enhancements will be made to the exterior of the stadium. TSE will also seek to reduce the stadium’s impact on the environment and demand on city infrastructure through the modernisation of building systems.

“Bank of America Stadium has been a special place for our Panthers, and now Charlotte FC, fans for nearly 30 years,” said Kristi Coleman, the Panthers’ president.

“While Bank of America Stadium has solid infrastructure, investments are needed to ensure that our decades-old venue continues to deliver the best experience for our players, fans, and community.”