There’s really no other way to describe it: The Uptown powers that be are scared that the Panthers will head to Los Angeles, from which comes a willingness to shove public dollars at Jerry Richardson. And it isn’t just Charlotte City Council that’s assuming a surrendering before details have come out stance.
Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan tells the Charlotte Business Journal “That reality scares the hell out of me. It’s sobering.”
N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis went a step further and told the CBJ that he’s open to using state money for Bank Of America Stadium improvements:
“Clearly, the economic impact of the Carolina Panthers is very well-documented,” Tillis said. “To get to a point where you could attract a Super Bowl and ensure (the future of the franchise here), we’re open to discussing that.”
And we have Mohammad Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality & Tourism Alliance, calling for a regional tax to subsidize stadium improvements:
“We may have to reach out to our neighbors in surrounding counties,” Jenatian says, mentioning Cabarrus and other counties surrounding Mecklenburg. “They’re the Carolina Panthers, not the Charlotte Panthers. All the counties around us get the benefit of an NFL team.”
All of which is quite silly as economic studies have consistently refuted the idea that pro sports are good for local economies. Even Mr. Creative Class himself, Richard Florida, thinks it’s a very bad idea.
Bonus observation: There’s considerable opposition in Atlanta to building the Falcons a new stadium, with more people questioning the economic impact that such a new facility would bring:
Rep. Mike Dudgeon, R-Johns Creek, said constituents lose trust in government when leaders insist they have to tighten budgets and cut programs because of the economy, but then turn around and dedicate money to a stadium.
“For me, it doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Dudgeon.
Many agree. A poll commissioned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in July found 67 percent of respondents opposed using hotel-motel tax money for the project. Watchdog group Common Cause Georgia on Monday called for more public input in the negotiations.