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Charlotte to negotiate new Panthers stadium starting in 2037, as city votes on $650M stadium deal

Rendering of the upper deck of a stadium
City of Charlotte presentation
Bank of America's upper deck, as reimagined in a renovated stadium.

The Charlotte City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on spending $650 million in tax money to renovate Bank of America Stadium, in a deal that would require the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC to stay in Charlotte for 15 years.

The city of Charlotte released more details on Friday about the deal with Tepper Sports and Entertainment, which includes a timeline as to when and how the money will be spent.

One new item: The city has agreed to begin negotiating with Tepper Sports by the spring of 2037 on how to pay for a new stadium that would open in time for the 2046 season. The new stadium would be in the city of Charlotte, and could require new sources of tax revenue.

Bank of America Stadium would be about 50 years old by then. And with the Panthers' and Charlotte FC's agreement to stay in the city expiring in 2039, the teams' owner would potentially be positioned to wield the ultimate professional sports threat: moving the team.

Friday's details on the deal are the first insight into what Tepper Sports is planning for after this year's round of negotiations.

Most NFL teams play in stadiums that are newer than 50 years old. But a small number of teams are playing in stadiums that are approaching a half-century or are older. They include the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints.

Major League Baseball has four teams playing in stadiums older than 50 years: The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.

The agreement calls upon Tepper sports to pay the city of Charlotte $500,000 a year for the city-owned improvements at the stadium. The city will pay Tepper Sports up to $1 million annually to help with “traffic management costs” for games and concerts.

The agreement calls for Tepper Sports to spend $150 million on improvements by 2029. After that, the organization will spend $420 million on renovations and improvements by 2039.

The city said that if Tepper Sports doesn’t spend at least $421 million, “any such shortfall shall be paid to the City,” according to a summary of the agreement.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.