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@NCCapitol

Richardson: State, city should help support 'coveted' NFL franchise

Posted February 13, 2013

— Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Charlotte officials want the state to put $62.5 million toward the cost of more than $250 million improvements to the team's 17-year-old stadium.

Asked Wednesday why the team couldn't pay its own way, Richardson said, in short, because they don't have to. NFL teams, he said, "are so coveted, they don't have to pay. There are only 32."

The team has tentatively agreed to contribute $62.5 million to the effort, while the city would chip in $125 million. Charlotte Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble said they had reached a "business agreement" for the city's share of the cost to be repaid by raising the food and beverage tax by 1 to 2 percent inside Charlotte's city limits. Such a move also requires legislative approval.

Richardson said he had met with encouragement in meetings with legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory. Richardson, who is 76, has said he needs the stadium improvements to make the team attractive to buyer who would keep it in Charlotte after his death.

"We don't believe Mr. Richardson is going anywhere with the team," Kimble said. "Our concern and your concern ought to be what a subsequent owner would do."

"I would never move the team," Richardson told lawmakers who represent Mecklenburg County at the legislative office building Wednesday morning. But, he said, he intended to sell the team before he dies to avoid tax consequences for his estate.

"Are you familiar with the death tax?" Richardson asked reporters. "Fifty percent of my assets are going to go away. Why would I want to leave debt to my estate?"

Richardson said he has been approached to sell the team by two potential owners and has been lobbied by the mayor of Los Angeles.

Richardson and Charlotte leaders hope the state would put up the other $62.5 million. In the proposal, city leaders wrote, "The city acknowledges that the receipt of these state funds is an essential element of the partnership with the Panthers." Kimble said the state could decide to pay its $62.5 million share as a cash grant or provide "another revenue stream." 

Richardson and team President Danny Morrison last month met with new Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis to discuss the multimillion-dollar project. Both elected officials are from the Charlotte area, and McCrory was the city's mayor for 14 years. His first term was in 1995, the Panthers' inaugural season.

After that meeting, Tillis said, "I've been clear with the Panthers organization that it is not appropriate to have state taxpayer dollars go directly into the stadium."

Richardson encountered some of the same skepticism Wednesday from the group of Charlotte-area lawmakers. In particular, Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, asked for more details on how the bond money would be spent.

Also, she said, lawmakers have not been approached by Charlotte's mayor or City Council members in support of the project. "I have yet to hear one word from the mayor or a supportive City Council member on this issue," Samuelson said.

Bank of America Stadium is considered a middle-aged stadium by NFL standards. Of the 31 stadiums in the league – the Giants and Jets share one in New Jersey – 25 have either been built or undergone renovations in excess of $100 million since the Panthers opened their facility. Three other franchises – in Atlanta, San Francisco and Minnesota – are in the midst of either rebuilding or new stadium construction.

If the state and city can't ante up, Richardson said he's still committed to his share of the stadium upgrades. 

"We can't do it to that magnitude. We'd be limited," he said. "If they would reject it, I got to start from zero."

188 Comments

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  • lolly Feb 14, 7:13 p.m.

    Continued from previous post -

    So basically, the folks who bought the PSLs, cannot sell the PSLs, unless they have bought season tickets. Good grief - the Panthers could teach AIG something about robbing...

    As to the 5,000 jobs and 625 million in the the fake economic multiplier - I checked out the employment tab on the Panthers website.

    There was exactly, zero, nada, zilch in jobs advertised.

    So sir, Mr. Goode88, teach me some economics. I could use a good laugh.

  • lolly Feb 14, 7:05 p.m.

    "Lolly you seem to even misread"

    I really don't care much about this topic. However; once you asked me nicely to look at it - LOL. The more I dig, the funnier it gets.

    So the franchise was funded with PSLs. I looked at the rules regarding PSLs:

    "The account must be current, and PSL's and season tickets must be paid in full....To begin the transfer process, the transferor must provide the following information in writing:

    A transfer request letter including the account number, account name, current address and telephone number of Transferors, specific location of seats to be transferred (section, row and seat numbers), and the name, current address and telephone number of Transferee. Please note that the signature of the account holder must appear on the transfer request. A fee of $300 per account transfer must be submitted with the request."

    Source: http://www.panthers.com/tickets/psl-owners/psl-transfer.html

    More post to come....

  • superman Feb 14, 4:49 p.m.

    I will keep my money Mr. Richardson and you can take your team to--well you name the place where you want to put it.

  • goode88 Feb 14, 10:23 a.m.

    Lolly you seem to even misread your own quotes go back and read the articles you posted again and then try an form a more coherent arguement that I can properly respond to.

  • goldenosprey Feb 14, 9:18 a.m.

    Is it not enough, Mr. Richardson that the state and localities, through public middle and high school football programs and many state universities develop your "talent" and sort through for the most draftable choices? When have we given you enough, sir?

    In Europe and other places the club model has private organizations -football (soccer) associations developing, coaching and organizing the talent from toddlers to the richest pros. This is true throughout "socialist" Europe.

  • lolly Feb 14, 3:13 a.m.

    "the value of the Panthers franchise had grown from $200 million in 1995 to $1.04 billion in 2011 and ranks as the 13th most valuable professional sports team in the nation..., the group implored Richardson to spend more on talent, particularly in the face of possible public subsidies to Bank of America Stadium."

    Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/12/17/3731859/fix-the-team-now-psl-owners-implore.html

    LOL, those Permanent Seat License (PSL) owners do not sound very happy.

    When I see economic multipliers applied that come up with 625 million and 5,000 jobs; I sure would like to see the details.

    Source: http://www.wral.com/asset/news/state/nccapitol/2013/02/13/12101309/pdf2.pdf

    Maybe that includes all the websites where people are trying to unload their PSLs at a fraction of their original investment?

    If the folks in Charlotte want to vote to tax themselves to pay for the stadium upgrades, then let them. The state taxpayers, like the PSLs, would get zip.

  • goode88 Feb 13, 7:35 p.m.

    This is an easy call for North Carolina if they don't pony up the Carolina Panthers will be the LA whatevers, NC didn't have to pay for the stadium to be built because this owner had the foresight to us PSLs. The only reason to do the upgrades is to keep the team in North Carolina for the next couple of decades, Richardson is trying to make sure this happens. It is interesting no one really truly understands the entire situation but still has an opinion.

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 13, 6:43 p.m.

    If the state is stupid enough to continue giving money to a "non profit" organization, just so they can continue to put money in their pockets? With what we got in goverment now, I would not be surprised at all.

  • lolly Feb 13, 6:35 p.m.

    roadrunner99, you saved me some typing.

    "When the state has to reduce unemployment benefit's....senior's and disabled... spend a single penny on a football stadium."

    Your comments were exactly what I was thinking.

    I will add this. Anyone who looks at a stadium as an "public/state" investment, should ask ones self why the private stadium owner refuses to invest in it.

  • rroadrunner99 Feb 13, 6:19 p.m.

    When the state has to reduce unemployment benefit's and can't even afford to help senior's and disabled with health care, we don't need to spend a single penny on a football stadium.if Mr. Richardson want's his team's stadium to have upgrades let him pay for them. Nice comment he made about dodging the Taxes on the end of his interview also, Hope the revenue guys were paying attention!

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