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August 23, 2010

Carolina Panthers prez says 14-year-old stadium's days are numbered

From the "Once you take off the shrinkwrap, it's used" department:

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.


What a great business model; build a new stadium, probably financed by 30 year bonds and then build a new stadium in 15 years. Will they add the old debt to the new debt?

Posted by Vox Populi on August 24, 2010 10:04 AM

"added money-makers like sports bars."

Bet those added money makers make money for the team, not for the host city.

Posted by SantaClaraTaxpayer on August 24, 2010 11:05 AM

Just to be clear, they did say in 10-15 years, not tomorrow. If it's 15, that'll be when the bonds are paid off on the current stadium (not that that makes it OK, but it's at least less objectionable).

Posted by Brian on August 24, 2010 12:40 PM

With all due respect, I've never gotten why "They're still paying off the old one!" enters into it one way or another. If the city had decided to use 40-year bonds instead of 30-year, would that make it more objectionable to build a new stadium in 30 years?

I'd really rather treat stadium expenses as lump-sum sunk costs. How they decide to finance the mortgage shouldn't be a factor.

Posted by Neil on August 24, 2010 12:45 PM


You are missing the whole point about stadium costs when it comes to the great American Swindle.

For example, Montreal recently finished paying off their debt when it comes to the 1976 Olympics while the city of Indianapolis is still paying off debt from the construction of RCA Dome which was recently demolished so the Colts can play in a new playground.

Posted by Jessy S. on August 26, 2010 09:46 PM

Yeah, but that's just about when the stadium cost comes off the books. If Montreal had used 20-year bonds for the Olympics instead of 30-year, would that have made it a better deal?

It's like people saying, "The Mets can't cut Oliver Perez, they still owe him $12 million for next year." The money is gone - what year it has to be paid in is just bookkeeping.

Posted by Neil on August 27, 2010 12:16 AM

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