"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Scott Dempsey.
The Carolina Panthers' season has ended, and soon, the Jerry Richardson era will end as well. The NFL franchise he brought to the Queen City 25 years ago - along with Bank of America Stadium – are on the market following a bombshell report of workplace misconduct allegations against the 81-year-old owner.
It seems everyone is asking the same questions: Who might make-up the next ownership group? And what will become of the 22-year-old stadium? Will the team even continue to call Charlotte home?
The Panthers have great support here. This is a growing market and NFL has stated their preference is for the team to remain here.
In a perfect world, the new owners would be local folks, committed to the Queen City.
But at what cost?
There's been talk that new owners would require a new, multi-use stadium. On par with the $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, capable of hosting Super Bowls and Final Fours.
But who would pay for it and where would it be built?
By training camp, we'll likely know who the new owner is.
The more important questions – the ones that will likely involve tax-payer money – won't be answered for some time, but should public funds become part of the discussion, we hope to see investments that will improve economic opportunities for all of Charlotte and the region.