The Carolina Panthers play in Bank of America Stadium, which was built in 1996 and is all of 14 years old. If BoA Stadium was a teenager, it wouldn’t be able to drive. And it would have awful taste in music. But that hasn’t stopped Panthers president Danny Morrison from publicly talking about the need to update and possibly replace that stadium sometime within the next decade or two.
That’s what he said to Steve Harrison of the Charlotte Observer.
"You would have to think we're in the middle of a normal NFL stadium cycle," said team President Danny Morrison, who was hired last September. "The two options you would have somewhere down the line, in 10 or 15 years, would be a major renovation or something new.”
I love that Morrison can throw out 30 years as a “normal NFL stadium cycle,” as if a stadium will instantly turn to dust once those 30 years are over. It’s as if a new stadium is all but an accepted fate to him. Of course the Panthers will need a new stadium then. Who wants to play games in a stadium that’s thirty years old?! No civil servant or voter could possibly argue against it. Right?
This is insane. The idea that an NFL stadium, which is made of concrete and steel and other assorted parts that last a great deal longer than 30 years, would need to be replaced or require a lavish renovation after just 30 years is enough to make you want to put your fist through a wall (which Panthers wideout Steve Smith might graciously do on your behalf).
Harrison points that BoA stadium isn’t out of date in terms of looks, structure, or even revenue. It makes the Panthers plenty of money as is. Ah, but it doesn’t make the Panthers an OBSCENE amount of money, the way the new stadiums in Dallas and New York do.
…teams are looking at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium, which opened last year, and the new stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets, which opened this year.
Those stadiums -- which each cost more than $1 billion to build -- will give their host teams more ways to make money apart from club seats and luxury boxes.
One of those ways? Parking. Three years ago, Harrison says then-team President Mark Richardson lamented the lack of parking at BoA stadium. Teams like the Cowboys charge their fans up to $75 for parking on gameday. So essentially, what the Panthers would like is more money to renovate the stadium so they can charge you more to park to get in it. Fun!
A year ago, before JerryWorld opened, I wrote that stadium envy for deluxe places like Cowboys Stadium could end up ripping the league apart. What Morrison is talking about here is just the opening salvo.
He’s testing the waters. The idea isn’t going to go away. He’s going to keep pushing and pushing, and other teams will follow suit. And all of them will have the same refrain: We’re not making enough money, so we can’t spend enough money on players. So if you don’t pony up, the team will stink.
That’s the con. It’s what got the Bengals their new stadium. It’s what got the Twins theirs. It’s the subtle threat of sucking to get more money from cities and fans. You’d best get used to it, because it appears 30 years is the normal NFL stadium extortion cycle.