When the Panthers recently announced a deal with Charlotte that would keep in the team in town for 15 years in exchange for $143.75 million in public money for renovations at the team’s stadium, there was a sense of finality to the situation.
The finish line, however, remains miles away.
As explained by Erik Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal, Panthers president Danny Morrison told the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors that the effort to put the deal in place is “a process.”
Indeed it is. Regardless of any agreements reached with the city, using public money is a more complex endeavor, especially when the package includes money from the state’s coffers. The Legislature eventually will must approve of the plan.
In this specific case, the fact that an increase in the local restaurant and hotel tax will generate far more money than the renovations will require creates a political playground for pet projects that would be funded by the excess. Moreover, the red states remain lukewarm when it comes to using public money for anything, especially when the proposed recipients already are billionaires.
So the deal won’t be done until it’s done. And until it’s done the Panthers won’t be tied to Charlotte for another 15 years.