So it turns out the governor of North Carolina isn’t the only one opposed to using state funds for Carolina Panthers stadium renovations:
A new Elon University Poll found that 88 percent of North Carolinians oppose using state money for renovating Bank of America Stadium…
“Although arguments have been made that the 17-year-old stadium has helped bring in revenue to the local and state economy, 88 percent opposed a state subsidy for the renovations, a view that held steady regardless of race, gender, age or party identification,” according to a release by the pollsters.
It’s not uncommon for polls to run handily against stadium subsidies, but 88% is a lot. And note that this was before the governor came out and said the state can’t afford it, and before the Los Angeles move threat got even less believable.
Still no public response from Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to the rejection of state funds, meanwhile. (Team president Danny Morrison did issue a statement: “We have met with state officials multiple times. They have always been supportive of our efforts and indicated the importance of the Panthers to both the State and Charlotte. We are hopeful that ultimately these assurances translate into support for the team.” Which translates, roughly, as: “We’re going to keep on lobbying and hope no doesn’t mean no.”) An association of Charlotte restaurants did issue a letter saying they were willing to “be part of the discussion of an additional food and beverage tax, if necessary,” but given that the state legislature looks to have pretty much nixed that idea, it doesn’t much matter.
In short, it looks like back-to-the-drawing board time. And while it’s nice to imagine Richardson saying, “Oh, well, if the taxpayers won’t pay for it, might as well pay for it on our own,” I’m guessing that far more likely is “Let’s wait a year for the next legislative session and see if we can come up with a new line of attack.”