North Carolina Politicians Begin The NFL Stadium Game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn runs for a touchdown past Carolina Panthers free safety Juston Burris during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

A tourism tax could be extended to help fund a Carolina Panthers new stadium or renovate the present building.

You can count on politicians to do the right thing for sports owners 99 out of every 100 times. The National Football League’s Carolina Panthers’ owner David Tepper, who is one the richest people in the world, has been talking about the need of either a renovated or a new Charlotte stadium for his business. North Carolina politicians have taken the first step in building a new stadium for Tepper. The North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 154 that would allow multiple counties to create or extend a variety of tourism taxes. Among them, an extension on Mecklenburg County’s 1% tax on prepared food and drinks which was set to expire in 2034. That existing revenue stream, which has been used for sports facilities and Charlotte’s convention center, could exist until 2060. It is just the first step in what will be a marathon in the North Carolina stadium game with Tepper. Tepper thinks the present Charlotte stadium may eventually be structurally challenged if the building is not renovated. Tepper has not articulated his vision for a stadium for his football and soccer businesses.

An NFL team under the best of circumstances could use a stadium for two pre-season games, nine regular season games and two playoff games or a total of 13 games. There might be some other activities in a stadium such as concerts, college football games or soccer matches but the stadium sits dormant around 320 days a year under the best-case scenario. With all the evidence that building a colossal seldom used stadium does not produce an economic benefit, politicians in Charlotte, in North Carolina and in South Carolina know Tepper wants both a new stadium and a new practice facility. Lawmakers know it is time to step up to help Tepper.

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore (2) catches a touchdown pass as Atlanta Falcons safety Dean Marlowe (21) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)