Bank of America Stadium Set to Capitalize On Sports Betting

Bank of America Stadium, home to both the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and MLS’ Charlotte FC, is one of eight North Carolina sports venues authorized to open a retail sportsbook under the state’s new sports betting law.

The other venues specifically named in the legislation are:

  • PNC Arena in Raleigh;
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway;
  • North Wilkesboro Speedway;
  • WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary
  • Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte;
  • Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro;
  • Spectrum Center in Charlotte

While sports betting – both online and retail – will not launch until at least Jan. 8, 2024, NCSharp is looking at each location and the changes needed, as well as how retail sports betting will enhance the fan experience.

Bank of America Stadium exploring renovations

Opened in 1996, Bank of America Stadium is definitely due for some upgrades — an avenue that owner David Tepper is actively exploring. With the ratification of House Bill 347, the bill that legalized sports betting in North Carolina, it’s highly likely that a retail sportsbook will be included in any approved project to accommodate bettors looking to wager on the Panthers or Charlotte FC.

While the stadium underwent renovations to accommodate a soccer format prior to Charlotte FC’s entry into MLS in 2022, the $50 million project pales in comparison to the estimated $1.2 billion price tag for a wholesale overhaul. Sought by Tepper Sports and Entertainment and currently being negotiated with the City of Charlotte, a retail sportsbook will now be shoehorned into the conversation and future blueprints.

The details of the discussions have not been confirmed by either the City of Charlotte or the Carolina Panthers, instead they’ve been floated by sources familiar with the conversations — a detail that has irked Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles:

“Without confirming any of the information,” said Mayor Lyles in a statement, “I will say that it is unfortunate that discussions that happen in closed session are shared publicly because it undermines our ability to deliver the best deal for our community. It is important that we retain any business in our city. One out of every nine people in our community work in the hospitality and tourism industry and the Panthers and Charlotte FC are an important part of that industry. It is also important we have venues for the games, concerts and other events that create a vibrant city that is growing and delivers services to our residents.”

Circulated as one of the top-line items on the renovation agenda is a new practice facility for the Panthers.

As Panthers and Charlotte FC owner, Tepper was an ardent supporter of legal sports betting in the state, a $1.2 billion buildout budget could put Charlotte front and center regarding destination retail sportsbooks.

Further, with Hurricanes GM Dan Wadell already pushing through retail sports betting expansions at PNC Arena in Raleigh, the competition between the two cities could be heating up.

Charlotte set to double-dip on sports betting

As the betting window for legal sports betting does not open until January 2024 at the earliest, sports bettors will miss out on placing wagers on Panthers games at B of A in the coming season, but Charlotte FC supporters could be right on time. With the MLS season kicking off in early February, fans who visit the stadium to watch The Crown could be able to add to their experience by putting action on the match.

No details have emerged regarding Bank of America Stadium’s plans, but Tepper Sports and Entertainment issued a statement in support of the legalization of sports betting in North Carolina, stating: “We appreciate the tireless efforts of members of the NC House and Senate and are grateful for their support. This will offer a great entertainment option for fans.”

A venue that plays host to two major league sports, Bank of America Stadium — and Tepper Sports and Entertainment — should be in line for a revenue windfall once sports betting operations are up and running. Playing host to two major league sports franchises will create a year-round revenue boost for operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings or BetMGM, as well as taxes for the state.

A Bible Belt blueprint?

North Carolina has embraced sports betting and will follow Kentucky as the second state in the South to legalize both online and retail sports betting. It was an initiative championed by Tepper. After many years of false starts, it is now a reality for North Carolinians.

Regionally, gambling is still a taboo topic – even with Tennesee and Kentucky allowing legal wagers in some form. In the cases of Kentucky and North Carolina, their respective sports betting bills illuminated the tax revenue possible with adopting sports betting measures. The economic impact won the day in a region historically hesitant to entertain gambling legalization. It could provide a model for other neighboring states to follow.

HB 347’s ratification was a winner for North Carolina, and, as a result, Bank of America Stadium will likely host one of the largest retail sportsbooks in the state.

Image Credit: Rusty Jones / AP Photo

About the Author

Carter Breazeale

Carter Breazeale is a freelance journalist with a focus on sports, business and the business of sports. An Atlanta native currently residing in Orlando, Carter graduated from The University of Central Florida.