Panthers, Charlotte FC Owner Plans $800 Mil. Stadium Upgrade Not Including A Retail Sportsbook

The Carolina Panthers and the city of Charlotte unveiled an ambitious proposal to revitalize Bank of America Stadium, home to both the Panthers and Charlotte FC.

The plan outlines an $800 million renovation project to enhance the nearly 30-year-old stadium’s facilities. It will secure the NFL’s and MLS’s presence in the city for at least two decades. Despite the significant investment, North Carolina sports betting expansion will not likely factor into the upgrades.

“While Bank of America Stadium has solid infrastructure, investments are needed to ensure that our decades-old venue continues to deliver the best experience for our players, fans, and community,” said Kristi Coleman, Carolina Panthers team president.

Where will the money come from?

The proposed funding structure for the project involves a public investment of $650 million, representing 81% of the total cost, sourced from tax revenue earmarked for tourism-related initiatives. Tepper Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the Panthers and Charlotte FC, will contribute $150 million, accounting for 19% of the renovation expenses. Neither the state nor Mecklenburg County will be a part of the funding arrangement.

In addition to its initial investment, Tepper pledged to allocate an estimated $421 million to cover ongoing operating and maintenance costs and future upgrades to various stadium components, such as audio and video systems, as they become outdated.

What upgrades are included in the plan?

The Panthers’ website provides details on the proposed renovations. Major upgrades include exterior video boards, a new state-of-the-art sound system, new fan gathering areas with skyline views, an expanded team store, and new scoreboards.

Other renovations listed on the website include:

  • Brand-new seats throughout the bowl.
  • Improved accessibility throughout the facility for individuals with a range of disabilities.
  • Stadium safety and security enhancements.
  • A redesigned South Lawn Pavilion area that can be used as a community gathering spot and outdoor classroom on game days and non-event days.
  • Upgraded restrooms for better sustainability, accessibility, and speed of service.
  • Enhancements to the stadium exterior.
  • Modernization of mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.

Will renovations pave the way for a retail sportsbook?

So far, the Panthers’ ownership has said nothing about plans to add a retail sportsbook to the arena. FanDuel became the team’s official sportsbook partner in March. While this partnership gives FanDuel a presence at Bank of America Stadium, it does not grant the Panthers the ability to open a retail sportsbook.

A “written designation agreement” is needed for an operator to enter the North Carolina market via a pro sports team. The agreement would allow them to offer online sports betting and the opportunity to build a retail sportsbook with their partnered pro team. Neither the Carolina Panthers nor Charlotte FC have formed this type of agreement with a sportsbook. And the likelihood of this happening is also slim.

FanDuel already has in-person sportsbooks at two NBA arenas: the United Center (Chicago Bulls; coming soon) and Footprint Center (Phoenix Suns). Pedestrian traffic on game days could provide robust betting activity at Bank of America Stadium.

There are three in-person sportsbooks in North Carolina, all tribal-owned. While the Charlotte Hornets have a partnership with Bet365, a retail sportsbook is not a priority for the team. However, the Carolina Hurricanes, partnered with Fanatics Sportsbook, have plans to add a retail sportsbook during upgrades to PNC Arena. The team agreed to a 20-year lease extension at the venue. Construction for a $300 million renovation project will begin next year, with a three-year time frame.

City Council vote on the horizon; business leaders are backing the plan

The Charlotte City Council could vote on the Tepper proposal this month. Many business leaders and organizations, including the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, strongly support the plan. The group released a statement underscoring its support that said, in part:

“To remain competitive, we must play to win. An upgraded Bank of America Stadium is a vital ingredient in any economic development formula. As the voice of business, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance thanks the Tepper organization and the city of Charlotte for being willing to make such a critical investment in this community’s future and encourages the city council to do the same.”


Image Credit: Mike McCarn / AP Images

About the Author

Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fan and founded the website as a result of that passion. She loves writing about sports on all levels and has previous experience covering sports betting regulations, operator marketing campaigns and women's sports gambling topics.