City leaders optimistic Panthers will stay in Charlotte


CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — New members on Charlotte’s City Council have only been on the job for a couple of weeks, but now they’re facing sudden news about the Carolina Panthers being up for sale. Many are feeling optimistic about the Panthers staying in the Queen City. 

“Right now we’re in a financial boom. We have had consistent growth in this city for the last six and a half years,” said City Council member Lawana Mayfield. “The entire time I’ve been on council, we’ve had nothing but growth. We’re averaging 44 plus people a day, some say 100.”

That’s 44 or 100 new people moving to Charlotte every day, making it a no-brainer for the NFL to keep the Panthers pounding here in the Queen City.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the NFL owners, who will ultimately take the helm of this Panthers organization, will feel the same way: We’re in the driver’s seat here.”

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. If the new owner did decide to move the Panthers, it wouldn’t happen overnight. The Carolina Panthers are locked into Charlotte until 2019. At a minimum, the city would have the Panthers for the next couple of seasons.

“When we made a $87.5 million investment for the stadium, that was a tether. The investments that were made were upgrades to the stadium,” Mayfield said. “So that contract and deal is solid through 2019.”

But let’s say the new owner wants a brand new stadium or at least some upgrades.

“In almost every case, tax payer funded arenas and stadiums is a bad deal for the tax payers. It’s tough to negotiate a good deal, ” said city council member Tariq Bokhari. “We have to balance that with the fact that we love to have the Panthers in town. It’s going to be tough. I want to make sure out tax payers are getting a good deal.”

Mayor of Charlotte Vi Lyles put out the following statement on Twitter:

“The City looks forward to working with whomever the future owner ends up being for our Carolina Panthers.” 

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