CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The Big Cat met with city leaders behind closed doors to hatch a 302 million dollar plan to keep the Panthers in Charlotte. "I never would want my team to move somewhere else. I've said that. You know that," said Carolina Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson.
Richardson made it very clear he wants to keep the NFL team he owns in Charlotte. But, Mayor Anthony Foxx says the Panthers are one of the few teams in the league without a legal requirement to stay.
So today, Foxx says the City Council approved a plan to keep the team in the city for fifteen years, "The team is here because Mr. Richardson wants the team to be here. We want the team to be here. What we've just started the process of doing...is ensuring the team will be here for the next fifteen years," said Foxx.
As part of the 302 million dollar Panther Partnership Plan, the city hopes to invest 143 million dollars. An investment expected to be covered by the proceeds of a proposed one percent addition to the Prepared Food And Budget Tax. The Carolina Panthers plan to contribute 96 million dollars.
Both the city and the team are requesting 62 million dollars from the state. The entire plan, hatched behind closed doors at today's City Council Retreat, without public input.
We asked Richardson what he thought about the public's involvement in this new partnership,
"Shouldn't that partnership start now? In time, we'll discuss it. In time we'll discuss it, we'll discuss it." The city and the Panthers now have to wait to hear back from the state. The public will be able to review and comment before the City Council takes action later this Spring.