The Jerry Richardson Statue is staying.
National Football League training camps will open soon and usually newspapers are filled with anticipation stories about the local NFL franchise. The Charlotte Observer has the usual puff pieces about the excitement of the opening of training camp and a new season along with some additional coverage. What should the new Charlotte NFL stadium look like? Hold on, when did Charlotte city officials agree to build a new stadium? The Charlotte NFL team has a new owner David Tepper who paid more than $2.2 billion to acquire the franchise and Tepper has spoken to Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles in what can be best described as a welcoming phone call. Tepper has not discussed his stadium or training camps needs with anyone. That has not stopped the newspaper from what essentially is fact finding mission for the Panthers owner and floating a trial balloon in the stadium game.
The Observer sent a reporter to Minneapolis to check out the recently opened Vikings stadium and compared that facility with the Charlotte stadium which opened 22 years ago. In stadium years, the Charlotte facility is reaching old age despite a $178 million facelift that began five years ago. The newspaper then took up the question of whether there should be more renovations at the Charlotte stadium or if Tepper and the city should just go ahead and build a new facility that would revenue wise be in line much newer stadiums. The newer stadiums have more non-game activities because customers are not just entertained by sports action. They want great amenities such as restaurants, maybe a swimming pool or a Ferris Wheel. Or a place to tailgate or a virtual reality experience. It seems that owners long ago gave up the notion that people attend games to watch games. The Charlotte Observer is in all in getting the proper Panthers stadium because Charlotte needs to keep up with the Jerry Joneses.
The Carolina Panthers lease with the cuity ends in 2019.