When one thinks of Charlotte, one would typically think of its connection to banking, its international airport or its NFL Team, the Carolina Panthers. While the Carolina Panthers are technically a team that represents North and South Carolina as a whole, oftentimes the team is associated with Charlotte, due to the stadium in which they play being located here. In 2018, David Tepper purchased the Carolina Panthers from its previous owner, Jerry Richardson.
This past September, WSOC reported that the city of Charlotte was discussing an estimated $100-$200 million renovation to the stadium. The possible renovation would include two new locker rooms as well as an entrance to the field that was located in the middle of the stadium. These new renovations would allow for the possibility of a Major League Soccer team to play at the Bank of America stadium. CBS Sports reports that David Tepper is also hoping for a retractable roof for the stadium. A retractable roof would allow the stadium to host a wider range of events, such as the Super Bowl. This would, along with the renovations mentioned by the city of Charlotte, cost the city an exorbitant amount of money.
According to WSOC, if Charlotte goes ahead with the renovations, it would use both the tourism and infrastructure tax to help pay for the renovations. But the question remains whether these “investments” in the Bank of America stadium worth the estimated hundreds of millions of dollars. Personally, I would argue that yes, the city of Charlotte should invest in upgrades to the Bank of America Stadium. While normally I would not support taxpayers’ money going to private projects, I believe that the investments in the Bank of America stadium could improve not only Charlotte’s status as a sports city (with an NFL team and potential MLS team), but Charlotte’s tax revenue. If the stadium allows for a permanent MLS, along with the possibility of hosting more events such as the Super Bowl, this could draw more tourism to Charlotte.
I believe the tourism tax (along with the infrastructure tax) is a good way to pay for the renovations. According to an article by Joe Bruno, the tourism tax cannot be used for things such as housing or welfare. This ensures that Charlotte would not allocate resources that would have gone to social welfare projects to the stadium renovations. Improving Charlotte’s prominence in the region (the South) could help draw even more businesses and events, such as the Super Bowl, to Charlotte. In addition, tourism taxes are mostly paid by (as you could probably guess by the name) tourists from outside the city. Those who live in Charlotte would therefore not be paying for most of the project. This bolsters the argument that Charlotte needs to invest into the stadium, as the tourism tax has minimal impacts on Charlotteans. As for the infrastructure tax, which is paid for by those who live in Charlotte and those who travel to Charlotte, investments in the stadium could draw more people to the city. This could potentially lead to an increased amount of revenue that could be used to pay for better roads, better public transportation and other important endeavors.
In conclusion, I believe that it would be beneficial for Charlotte to invest in improvements to the Bank of America stadium. While the project itself would be an expensive one, it could open up Charlotte to more business and tourism as an improved stadium would allow for more diverse events to take place. I believe that the city’s plan to use the tourism and infrastructure tax is a good idea. Ultimately, an investment in the Bank of America stadium would allow for more tourism, which would help increase tax revenue for the city which in turn could be used to improve roads, housing and other projects in Charlotte.