Speaking of cities that don’t actually have MLS franchises yet but are hoping to, the Charlotte city council met in closed session on Monday night, according to WSOC-TV, to discuss spending $100 million to $200 million on upgrades to the Carolina Panthers‘ stadium to make it more attractive to soccer:
Sources said a dome is not under consideration at this point, but changes to Bank of America Stadium could include a middle entrance to the field for the soccer players and adding two locker rooms.
Okay, sure, those are things that a soccer team might like, but $100-200 million?!? The entire stadium only cost $248 million to build, which, sure, was in 1996 dollars, but still that seems a bit on the pricey side to add two locker rooms and a walkway.
Over at WBTV, meanwhile, the news is somewhat different, with Panthers owner (and wannabe MLB owner) David Tepper asking for $100-200 million for an entirely new stadium:
During the meeting, those presenting the pitch outlined a request for between roughly $100 million and $200 million in city funds for the facility, which would host a future soccer team and not also share a space with the Carolina Panthers.
Or maybe not!
Unlike the first two sources that WBTV spoke with, the third source clarified the city funds would be used to upfit Bank of America Stadium, where the Panthers currently play, to convert it to a soccer stadium.
Try to get your story straight before hitting Publish, guys!
Let’s see what the Charlotte Observer has to say:
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper may ask the City of Charlotte for up to $215 million toward Bank of America Stadium renovations and other costs associated with acquiring a new Major League Soccer franchise.
Assuming this is actually stadium upgrades and not a new stadium, WSOC-TV reporter Joe Bruno added this on Twitter:
Sources tell me City Council gave staff members consent to proceed with talks with David Tepper and the Panthers. More hard details are expected at the next closed session meeting. Sources believe a public vote could happen while this current council is in place- very quickly
— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) September 24, 2019
The entire Charlotte city council and the city’s mayor are all up for election in November, so we’re looking here at a $100-million-plus subsidy proposal being discussed by the council in secret, then voted on just weeks before the lame duck officials leave office. I for one applaud Charlotte city officials for knowing how to get things done, without all this mucking about with messy democracy.