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At a time when free money is getting harder and harder for the NFL’s oligarchs to come by, Panthers owner David Tepper is about to get some.

As in $650 million.

Via Joe Person of, Charlotte City Council will vote tonight on the proposal to renovate the 29-year-old stadium where the Panthers play.

Person predicts, based on the “tenor of the meetings during the project’s unveiling and a public forum last week,” that the 11 members of city council “are expected to approve the renovations, likely by a lopsided margin.”

At the risk of having a drink thrown in his face and/or the hat removed from his head, Person says that “the renovations feel like they’re getting shoved down Charlotte’s collective throat.”

But, hey, that’s the best way to pry money from someone’s wallet — especially in a political climate where it’s far more easy to divert taxpayer money to needy billionaires through non-democratic processes. Surely, if the issue were put to a public vote in Charlotte, the proposal would be rejected, likely by a lopsided margin.

Among elected officials, there’s a greater willingness to play ball with those who want to play games in stadiums for which they didn’t pay full freight. Maybe they don’t fear repercussions at the ballot box. Maybe they don’t want to give future opponents the ability to say they’re responsible for a team leaving.

Regardless, Charlotte City Council is about to give $650 million to their carpetbagging bully of a billionaire if only because they fear he’ll move his football and soccer teams to a new city if they don’t.

As long as city councils and county commissions and state legislatures and executives will give people what they want but don’t need, taxpayer money will continue to go to places other than where it’s needed.

The Panthers are getting a new stadium.

In 22 years.


Via WSOC-TV, discussions regarding a renovation to the existing facility, which opened in 1995, include a potential deal to commence negotiations on a new stadium by 2037 — with the goal of opening the new venue nine years later.

Steve Harrison of WFAE has posted the language from the agenda for Monday’s Charlotte City Council meeting, which will take up the issue of the current request for $650 million to upgrade the current building.

There are few details beyond that, including the most important ones: How much will this cost and who’s going to pay for it?

However it plays out, 2037 will be here before you know it. And, at the groundbreaking, we can only hope a certain someone throws a shovel full of dirt on someone else. Right before removing without advance warning another someone else’s hardhat.

It’s no secret that last year’s No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young had a tough rookie season.

But in the aftermath of the Panthers’ offseason program, veteran receiver Adam Thielen said this week that he’s optimistic about the young quarterback entering 2024.

“It’s been awesome. Not only him, just a lot of the young guys, a lot of the staff. It’s just been a great offseason to just see some of these guys who haven’t been in the league very long — just the way that they’ve come in with confidence,” Thielen said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show. “You can tell, Bryce’s demeanor in the building — he’s just more comfortable, right? And you don’t realize it when you start getting to be a veteran guy, just because you forget about those times.”

Thielen noted that last year, Young wasn’t even a part of the early offseason program because he hadn’t been drafted yet.

“I’m thinking back to that like, now he’s there,” Thielen said. “Now we’re getting routes on air, we’re around each other, we’re in the locker room together, we’re BSing, talking about how great the Timberwolves are — because I’m a Timberwolves fan. So, you have that time together that we didn’t have last year.”

Thielen added that just going through the process of entering the league can be a whirlwind for a young QB between learning the playbook and getting to know new teammates before the summer break. Then once training camp begins, everyone has to hit the ground running — and that’s not including some of the clear issues the Panthers had with their systems in 2023.

“So, it’s been a really cool offseason to see how he’s come back with, OK, I’ve got urgency, I’ve got confidence, I have comfortability in the system, in the facility, the locker room, and what that does for a player,” Thielen said. “I’m excited about what that looks like going into training camp.

“Again, like I said last year and I’ll never not talk about this — things are always great this time of year. There’s no wins, no losses, there’s no adversity. It’s all good right now, every single team thinks they can go to the playoffs and have a chance to win the Super Bowl. So we’ll see how it goes when the bullets start flying, but we’re in a good place.”

The Panthers traded up into the first round to draft wide receiver Xavier Legette, and quarterback Bryce Young says he’s already showing first-round talent this offseason.

Young said that Legette, who is 6-foot-3 and ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, has a combination of size and speed that is hard to get accustomed to.

“That combination of size, speed, how explosive he is, the way he comes out of routes, it’s definitely something that I gotta get used to,’' Young said, via ESPN. “We’re working on getting that timing down, but I’m super excited.’'

The Panthers think Legette can be a big-play receiver in new head coach Dave Canales’ offense, and that he can be the No. 1 receiver for Young for years to come. Young’s rookie season was a disappointment, and now the Panthers need Legette both to show that first-round talent on the field, and to help Young develop into the franchise quarterback the Panthers need him to be.

On the “owners most likely to pack and leave if they don’t get what they want” scale, David Tepper would be at the very top.

That’s an important point for the powers-that-be to keep in mind as Charlotte City Council prepares to take up later this month Tepper’s request for $650 million in free money to upgrade the stadium where the Panthers play.

Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, a noted Tepper agitator, makes the case for giving Tepper what he wants. The reasoning is simple. If Charlotte doesn’t, the Panthers will leave, along with the Charlotte FC MLS team he owns. And then Charlotte would try to get another NFL team to replace the Panthers, at a cost far in excess of the $650 million Tepper wants.

Public sentiment, as reflected by hardly reliable online commentary, is 85 percent (in Fowler’s estimation) against the proposal. Not giving Tepper the money, however, makes it more than 85 percent certain that he’ll go somewhere that will. (The best hope is that his hostile-takeover personality, which includes hostile drink throwing and marginally hostile hat removal, could be an impediment to getting taxpayer money elsewhere.)

Fowler’s request, and it’s a smart one, is that the council seek a longer commitment than 2039 from Tepper, in exchange for the money. That’s only 15 years away, and that’s when the bill will be even bigger to renovate, or possibly to replace, Tepper’s playground.

All of this is happening at a time when the mood seems to be smaller than ever to subsidize billionaire sports owners. For the NFL, the ever-exploding value of franchises will make it even harder to persuade the average person to feel good about the Dennis Moore approach to stadium financing.

Steal from the poor, and give to the rich.

The folks on Charlotte City Council need to think of it that way. And they shouldn’t get too twisted up by the possibility of Tepper leaving.

Really, where would he go? Which community would fork over billions to build him a new stadium?

The Chiefs currently are benefitting from a Missouri vs. Kansas-style border battle. Fortunately for Charlotte, Tepper has already obliterated the bridge to Rock Hill.