Panthers Seek Help For Stadium Improvements

6:38 PM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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Charlotte, NC -- The speaker of the North Carolina House says there's a fear that the Carolina Panthers could move if they don't get financial help to upgrade Bank of America Stadium.

Thom Tillis made those remarks Tuesday in response to questions about talks between the state and team officials about the proposed multimillion dollar project.

The Panthers want to renovate the outdoor 74,000-seat stadium.

Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson and team President Danny Morrison have met with both Tillis and Gov. Pat McCrory.

Two weeks ago, Richardson discussed the issue with the Charlotte City Council.

The Panthers are seeking $125 million in money from the city and another $62.5 million from the state to help offset the proposed $250 million project.

Tillis says the Panthers are considering moving if they don't get help, but he made it clear he doesn't think it's appropriate for state money to go directly into upgrading the stadium.

Kenneth Fernandez, the director of the Elon Poll, says now isn't the right time to ask for state money.

"If the Panthers had made it to the Super Bowl and the economy was booming, this would just be a breeze to get through," Fernandez said. "But we're talking about a franchise that didn't have the most fantastic record and a state that still has a higher-than-average unemployment rate."

Fernandez says there is a good chance, however, that state legislators will approve allowing the City of Charlotte to increase its prepared food and beverage tax to help cover its $125 million portion of the project.

A Panthers spokesman wouldn't comment on the project to WFMY News 2.

The Associated Press/WFMY News 2

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