Charlotte looking for at least a 10-year tie in Panthers deal

AP

It looks like the city of Charlotte is going to get something for its money.

Ten years worth of something, at least.

According to Erik Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal, a 10-year tie to the city is the “starting point for negotiations” for the city after it approved a proposal for $125 million worth of public money to upgrade Bank of America Stadium.

Talks are apparently continuing, but such an arrangement’s not a surprise. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson takes very seriously his legacy of bringing the NFL to his native Carolinas. And with news earlier this week that he’s arranged for the Panthers to be sold within two years after his death, there was concern in some quarters the team was ripe to be moved.

But with a privately financed stadium (one which is upgraded on somebody else’s tab), that is less likely with or without any kind of formal arrangement with the city.

In addition to the $125 million the city’s kicking in, the team is said to be looking to split the other half of the estimated $250 million needed between its own money and state funds.

Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly, said he wanted to help.

“The position that I’ve taken with Mr. Richardson and the Panthers organization is that the state would not be putting money into the stadium itself,” Tillis said. “So it would be are there infrastructure or other things that world make sense, that extend the benefit beyond just the stadium improvements. We’ve got to take a look at it and see what ideas they have. . . .

“I firmly believe that the Panthers organization wants to make sure that the Panthers continue to be the Carolina Panthers.”

And in exchange, he’s happy to give them public money, so long as it doesn’t look so overtly like public money.