Could the Carolina Panthers leave Charlotte for a better stadium deal in a city without an NFL team? That's been on the minds of Charlotte business leaders as they wrangle with the Legislature over a funding plan to help the Panthers pay for stadium renovations.
The big fear right now is that without public funds, without a showing of support from its community, The Panthers will move on. The fact is, other cities do pay for stadium upgrades.
Bank of America stadium was built in 1996. Across the country, 20 other stadiums were either built or renovated since then. And all but one of them used public money.
While teams are private enterprises, they generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for cities and states. In the Panther's case, the team is responsible for an economic impact of $636 million. The team's payroll alone translates into $11 million worth of state income tax.
City Council Member James Mitchell thinks Charlotte could be in real danger of losing the team. Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan says keeping the Panthers is also critical for jobs.