Panthers seeking subsidies to replace video boards they haven’t even built yet

The Carolina Panthers have released their laundry list of improvements they want for Bank of America Stadium once they get $206 million in public money, and in amongst the usual suspects — additional escalators, new team store, schmancier luxury suites — there’s this gem:

Installing new video boards, ribbon boards and overhauling the sound system. The figure for these features — $59 million — includes the projected price of having to replace the new equipment within a decade because of technological advances. In other words, the city, state and team plan on buying two sets of video boards.

On the one hand, that certainly shows foresight: They’ve realized that they’re inevitably going to want even newer scoreboards in less than ten years, because hey, that’s what everybody else will have by then, and have budgeted for it now. On the other, this has got to be the first time that a team has asked for money to replace video boards that it hasn’t even built yet — unless you count the blank checks that other teams have written for themselves via “state-of-the-art” clauses.

And that’s not even the most WTF item in the Charlotte Business Journal article on the team’s requests, which would be this:

Bank of America Stadium, with these renovations, could become a football version of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, [Panthers president Danny] Morrison added, naming the two oldest Major League Baseball stadiums.

Maybe in another eighty years. It’d need another eight new scoreboards by then, though.


8 comments on “Panthers seeking subsidies to replace video boards they haven’t even built yet

  1. jhande, apparently the vast majority of people don’t care how taxpayer money is spent on a daily basis like we do.

  2. It’s interesting that they claim to want to become the next Fenway or Wrigley because there are so few teams that are interested in historical preservation (Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, other?) that it’s very difficult to take that claim seriously. Even teams that played in historic stadia, such as the New York Yankees, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Montreal Canadians , have moved to new stadiums. Maple Leaf Gardens is now a multi-use building with a grocery store.

  3. Funniest part is the Panthers getting credit for a $18.75M contribution by allowing the stadium to be used for the Belk Bowl every year.

  4. An excellent point was made on one of the FB plug-ins: Even the provision that keeps the Panthers in town for 15 years isn’t airtight. It only sets the buyout rate for another owner to buy and move the team. Just an added cost to get the team in LA or some other city. The other funny comments are how Charlotte doesn’t want to stop being a “first-tier” city. So LA isn’t first-tier but Green Bay is?

  5. That point about “first-tier” cities was from “Keith” from another post. I want to talk about one story saying State Speaker Tillis said he’s against subsidies but may be favoring “state incentives” instead. It’s the same thing! I’m working on a smaller arena project in western North Carolina and if I was offered that it wouldn’t work because I don’t begin to have Jerry Richardson’s wealth. I’m glad most of the comments on the local newspaper boards is pure outrage as this gross overreach.

  6. “…the vast majority of people don’t care how taxpayer money is spent on a daily basis…” that’s it, the nation of “know nothings” allows this to happen.
    All the items listed are revenue generators for the franchise, there should be (in an enlightened world) a percentage of the income flow to repay the cost.
    But we all know…

  7. Getting back to the video boards for a second — Let’s say 11 years ago I had a clause like this in my “renovation agreement”. In 2002, most major league ballparks/stadiums had some type of LED videoboard. Heck, even Minute Maid Park (at that point Enron Field) and Comerica Park were built with LED-based videoboards. Both of these were much smaller than what is being put in today but the technology was already there.

    In 2013, what we find is that the boards are getting bigger – much bigger. In football they either take up large portions of the corner areas, the entire back of the endzone or hang between 20 yard lines so you don’t want to watch the actual game. But, the underlying technology is the same as what was used 11 years earlier for any stadium/ballpark that had recently upgraded.

    So, flashing forward to 2024, what type of new board would the Panthers be putting up. OLEDs are the wave of the future but they don’t provide any visual improvement when you already have an LED board. OLEDs might possibly provide for decreased power consumption. I guess that would reduce cost but the average fan would not notice a difference.

    It’s hard to imagine that the owners would want even bigger boards since that begs the question of where would you put these new boards without removing too many seats, particularly in an outdoor stadium. I supposed you could put more boards up in strange places – kind of like that strange location for the 1st base side videoboard at CitiField but that wouldn’t be a replacement.

    The only other reason I can think of is wear and tear. :LEDs should last longer than the previous CRT-based videoboards and those boards lasted about 20 years in most venues – at least the ones that put the CRT-based videoboards in the 1980s. The only reason the present crop of LED boards is being replaced is because of size – everyone wants a bigger board so the ad revenue increases. But, I think, we’ve reached the point where the stadium would have be redesigned to accomodate anything much bigger than is currently being installed.

    So, the 10 year replacement is being thrown out based on flawed assumptions. I wonder where the money really would go when the new boards don’t need to be replaced. Of course, Daktronics and Mitsubishi would probably disagree with me and tell you that the money should go to them since they’ll have some new feature by then that isn’t even visible to anyone watching.

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