City council bracing for negotiations with new Panthers owner

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When the keys to Bank of America Stadium are handed over to the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, it's just a matter of time before talks open up with the City of Charlotte regarding any incentives to keep the team here.

Councilman Ed Driggs is the vice chair of the city's economic development committee who expects a series of carefully guided steps once league owners approve the deal.

"At that point we will initially have talks and that will be with the CRVA and will engage with new owner to find out what expectations the owner has and commence a dialogue," Driggs said.

Michael Barnes was Charlotte's mayor protem the last time city tax payers' money was used for stadium improvements. When it comes to a place to play, Barnes offers this bit of insight connected to the current city council.

"I think they're going to be looking to get a deal that keeps the Panthers here, as long as possible. I think they will be trying to minimize contributions from the public sector and I think they'll be trying to keep the Panthers at the current site," Barnes told WBTV.

Fans also have a sense of expectation connected to the new owner.

"I'd like to see a more family friendly atmosphere, where the fans can come a little lower price on our concession stands, " Reed Goe of Union County said.

Meanwhile, Ed Driggs says its too early to tell where the council is headed.

"Right now there's nothing for us on council to talk about," he said.

Sources tell WBTV that the deal could very well be approved by May 21 which is the first day of the NFL's meetings in Atlanta.

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