For the first time, the Carolina Panthers are discussing publicly the eventual need for a major renovation of the 14-year-old Bank of America Stadium, or perhaps a replacement stadium.
“You would have to think we’re in the middle of a normal NFL stadium cycle,” said team President Danny Morrison, who was hired last September. “The two options you would have somewhere down the line, in 10 or 15 years, would be a major renovation or something new.”
And why, exactly, does Morrison think the Panthers will soon need a new stadium, other than the obvious that it’s always nicer to have this year’s model? The Charlotte Observer gives several reasons:
- All the other kids have one: “Of the 32 stadiums in the NFL, only 13 are older than Bank of America Stadium,” notes the Observer. “And of those 13 older stadiums, several have recently undergone major renovations that cost upward of $100 million each.”
- Their old stadium doesn’t have enough parking: Former Panthers president Mark Richardson apparently griped about this three years ago, though a whole new stadium seems a bit like overkill when all you want is more parking spaces.
- There’s a new stadium! And it has a hat! Forbes editor Kurt Badenhausen says the Panthers’ stadium is still “very financially viable,” but pales in comparison to the new Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants and Jets stadiums, especially in terms of added money-makers like sports bars.
So, basically, it’s nicer to have this year’s model.
Morrison says he’s talked with Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton about the stadium issue, but that their discussions were only preliminary. Still, this is why speculation that the new stadium boom is over “because everybody already has one” is invariably wrong: There’s always some team waiting to go back to the head of the line and ride again.