Charlotte business leader: L.A. “scares the hell out of me”

AP

The Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium is a little over halfway through it’s planned 30-year lifespan. They’d like to freshen the place up a bit.

And after privately financing it the first time through, it’s reasonable to assume they might like a little help on the renovations this time.

Couple that with the fact that a group of 100 local Charlotte politicians and business leaders just spent a few days in New York, toured MetLife Stadium, met NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and learned about the fancy bells and whistles a new stadium has. And oh by the way, wink wink, elbow nudge, there’s a big city on the other coast that doesn’t have a team (or two).

Dots are being laid out for the people in control of the city’s finances to connect for themselves.

That reality scares the hell out of me. It’s sobering,” Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President Bob Morgan told Erik Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal, of the possibility of the Panthers leaving town.

Mission accomplished.

Richardson, the former chairman of the league’s stadium committee (he recently stepped aside), has invested as much time in the NFL’s Los Angeles process as anyone. He hosted the richest man in L.A. at a game in Charlotte earlier this year. The CBJ report made a vague reference to the mayor of L.A. “directly or indirectly made overtures to the Panthers and Richardson during the Democratic National Convention in September,” whatever that sentence means.

Richardson is also smart enough and insulated enough to be not spotted (or rumored to be directly or indirectly spotted) with anyone he doesn’t want to be spotted with.

As much as Richardson takes pride in bringing an NFL franchise to his native Carolinas, he’s also a shrewd businessman. He didn’t take public money for the stadium the first time through, and he’d probably prefer to not have to be so crass as to come right out and ask for it this time.

So if a junket and a few scare tactics get the city fathers to offer $100 million or so for a new coat of paint, some shingles (and maybe an escalator and new scoreboard or two), that would probably be just fine with Richardson.

15 responses to “Charlotte business leader: L.A. “scares the hell out of me”

  1. Panthers could spruce up our uniforms too to along with the new stadium we will hopefully get; we’ve already taken care of our logo. We’ve had the same jerseys since we entered the league.

  2. Richardson is a shrewd business man, but he is also a southern gentleman. I live in the man’s hometown and I can promise you there is no way in hades that Jerry Richardson is going to move the Panthers out of the Carolinas.

    Richardson is also getting on in years, and the recipient of a heart transplant. However, as long as Jerry is still around, the Panthers aren’t going anywhere.

  3. Cities around the country just need to call the league’s bluff and tell them to build their own damn stadiums. I love football, but there is no reason it should be subsidized.

  4. The Panthers aren’t going anywhere. The sell out every game, and they are 17th in most valuable sports teams. Just because they have a smaller market they throw the Panthers into it. I would be more worried if I was a Bill, Jaguar, Bucs, dolphins, or even the Vikings.

  5. LA won’t be getting a team anytime soon.Has anyone soon any ceremonial shovels being stuck into the ground yet?And isn’t AEG being sold?No teamis moving to LA unless that stadium is actually under construction which it is not.

  6. The Panthers have a very loyal fanbase their is no way this team is going anywhere.

    Despite some of the struggles in Carolina this season the future is still bright. Very quietly Luke Kuechly and the defense have been playing fantastic football lately and only one Panthers loss has been a big one (against the Giants) every other game they lost they could have easily won.

  7. How many teams have to fail in LA before the league understands that no one there gives a crap about having a football team in town?

  8. Face it, Richardson is no spring chicken and to my knowledge has no pressing financial issues.

    It is one thing for a 50 something to move a team he owns to bigger brighter lights and know he is going to be villified in his hometown and NFL fans in general. Quite a different thing for someone who is up there in years and has already had major league heart surgery to make that move as they are more concerned with their “legacy” by that point. Only examples I can think of someone much older doing that is Modell when he basically had to move to Baltimore to get a huge check and keep himself out of bankruptcy and Irsay who was a drunken blowhard.

    Not saying he will not use LA to leverage Charlotte, but actually pulling the trigger……

    His children (I assume he has them) may however have different ideas when they take over the team or decide to sell to the highest bidder who may not have deep Carolinas roots.

  9. How sad is it that a stadium that is only 15 years old is considered obsolete and in need of upgrading.

  10. However, as long as Jerry is still around, the Panthers aren’t going anywhere.
    ——————————————-
    What I’d like to know is who inherits Richardson’s interests in the franchise, and what they think.

  11. LOL @”The Panthers have a very loyal fanbase”

    Also, BofA Stadium is very nice, just needs a new scoreboard. That is the worst scoreboard by far, my TV is twice the size of that thing.

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