Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has unveiled his vision for a new multi-purpose stadium in Charlotte with a retractable roof, which could not only house his National Football League team but also an NCAA basketball men’s Final Four and a potential Major League Soccer franchise.
“If we do football, and if we do end up with a soccer franchise, and then have all the other events there — have a Final Four there — that would be the cherry on top. It’s not like idle chatter; it’s something I’d really like to see done,” Tepper told reporters July 31.
“To say that I’m going to do it in the next year, that’s not true. But to put something out in the future — say hey to the governor of North Carolina, to the mayor (of Charlotte), we need to be aspirational because this is a great area. We need to realize how great it can be,” he said.
The Panthers currently play at Bank of America Stadium, which was built in 1996.
Tepper is increasingly bullish about his hopes of landing an MLS expansion team in Charlotte, having recently met with league officials in New York.
MLS has announced it will expand to 30 teams and Sacramento and St. Louis are considered overwhelming favorites to land the expansion slots for the league’s 28th and 29th franchises. But it is possible that Charlotte could overtake Sacramento for one of these places.
“I think they came out with a statement after (the presentation) and it was a very simple statement. You saw they mentioned St. Louis first and they mentioned Charlotte second and they mentioned Sacramento third. I think that put us in the conversation. So I didn’t say it, they said it,” Tepper added.
Ahead of the MLS All-Star Game against Atletico Madrid in Orlando’s Exploria Stadium on Wednesday evening, commissioner Don Garber revealed that he and other MLS officials will be back to visit Charlotte within the next 30 days to learn more about Tepper’s stadium plan.
Despite being worth an estimated $11.4bn, making him the wealthiest NFL owner, Tepper is seeking taxpayer help for his proposed new stadium.