Charlotte to pay Panthers $14.6m for each year they stay put through 2019

Oh, okay, fine, here’s some real news:

Charlotte’s city council voted unanimously Monday night to approve an agreement to provide $87.5 million for upgrades to the Carolina Panthers‘ 17-year-old stadium in exchange for a commitment to stay in North Carolina’s largest city for at least another six years.

This has been a foregone conclusion for a while now, but still, it’s worth noting that this is one of the weakest returns any city has gotten on a stadium subsidy, ever. Typical stadium deals involve a lot more public money, obviously, but they at least usually include, say, a 30-year lease. (Albeit sometimes a 30-year lease with a ridonkulous out clause.) Here, Charlotte has given Panthers owner Jerry Richardson $87.5 million in exchange for agreeing to stay put through 2019 — in a stadium he himself owns, meaning that to leave before 2019 the Panthers would need to find a city willing to build them a stadium, wait for it to be completed, and also figure out what to do with their current stadium once they’d abandoned it. But now Charlotte citizens can rest assured that that won’t happen, at least not for another six years.

Richardson also has promised he’d never move the team himself, which has led to one of the strangest developments in the history of stadium shakedowns: an NFL owner threatening that if he doesn’t get renovation subsidies, he will literally die.

The 76-year-old Richardson, who had a heart transplant a few years ago, said the deal was important to assuring the Panthers would stay in Charlotte upon his death.

During a presentation highlighting the deal, city officials said the Panthers would be sold no later than two years after Richardson’s death.

So let’s see, a six-year extension, and it would take two years to sell the team — Richardson is clearly planning to kick the bucket no later than 2017. Maybe he knows something we don’t know.


3 comments on “Charlotte to pay Panthers $14.6m for each year they stay put through 2019

  1. Sigh. Us NFL owners get tired sometimes of having to break out the fine scotch and expensive cigars to celebrate every other month when some government hands us tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Being the biggest public welfare recipient in the history of the world is a heavy burden, and one we take seriously.

    Btw I can’t find my solid gold diamond encrusted liquor decanter and the maid is out shopping for fois gras and caviar. If anyone has seen it please let me know, the other owners will be here in half an hour for the celebratory shindig.

  2. I made this point before and I’ll make it again: Asheville, NC has been wanting for a performing arts center for years and cannot get these funding mechanisms. Yet Republican and Democratic Senators in my region “bends over” for Charlotte…AGAIN!

    No wonder young people leave the region. They know where the money is going.

    BTW, did you ever consider that six years is about the time the NFL thinks they’ll get that LA stadium locked down? Perfect timing.

  3. We’ve had an L.A. stadium about to get locked down for 19 years now, heh heh. Whatever imaginary timing is required to get the rubes in line and make them pony up, we’ll put it out there as reality. 6 years? No problem. 6 months? The bulldozers are warming up as we speak!

    You would think in the internet era that these slobbering hicks who let us pick their pockets in city after city, would just go research a bit and figure out that we don’t have a glimmer of a financially viable L.A. plan and really, we never have had one since we took off back in 94 for greener pa$tures.

    But it never fails – all we have to do is say “Los Angeles” during a stadium campaign, buy a few local pols, and we’re off to the jackpot gravy train races. Man, being an NFL owner is like being king of America… thank you, my loyal, cash-providing subjects!

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