Behind closed doors and away from view of the pesky public eye, our beloved City Council and mayor have decided to give the Carolina Panthers $125 million to renovate Bank of America stadium. What, you had no idea that the Panthers could not afford to fix up their own house?
Well they can, but they would rather have you pay for it. So the council, in its prescient wisdom, voted to add a 1 percent prepared food and beverage tax to your bill every time you go out to eat or drink. Going to Moosehead Bar & Grill on Montford Drive for a dozen of Donnie's finest blackened chicken wings? Bring another 9 cents for the Panthers. Like to wash those wings down with a cold Yuengling? Better cough up another 3 cents for Jerry Richardson. Splurging on a hot date at Charlotte's best steak house, the Beef and Bottle? You'll have to budget another $1 to pay for stadium renovations on top of the $100 dinner tab.
What the City Council, the mayor and the Panthers do not want to tell you are the following facts:
In July 2012, Forbes named the Carolina Panthers the 23rd most valuable sports franchise in the world, putting their value at $1 billion dollars.
According to profootballhof.com, Richardson paid a $140 million expansion fee for the rights to an NFL franchise when he purchased the team for $206 million in 1993. (Funny how he cannot come up with $125 million now.)
The Panthers generated $257 million in revenue in 2010, according to Forbes.
Salary cap for the 2012 Panthers was $120.6 million. Jerry wants us to pay his players for a year - plus give him a damn tip!
The Business Journal has reported that Richardson's will stipulates that the Panthers be sold two years after his death. After he fired sons Mark and Jon in 2009, no one has had a clue who would succeed Richardson as owner. Since no one knows what the succession plan is, there is an implied threat that the Panthers could leave Charlotte. Gee, could the team have leaked this information to ratchet up the pressure on the city? Perhaps part of the $125 million ransom Charlotte has to pay should be the guarantee that the Panthers will stay here for 20 years.
Charlotteans were run down and killed in 2012 because the city said it did not have enough money to build sidewalks on busy thoroughfares. There is no legitimate reason to give the Carolina Panthers a taxpayer handout. This turd should not flush.