North Carolinians love the Carolina Panthers. According to Forbes, the state has the 10th most rabid fans, just ahead of the Minnesota Vikings. (OK, some still love the Redskins, dating to the days when that’s the game that was televised each Sunday. But that was a loooooong time ago.)
But despite that, North Carolinians pretty much don’t want to have anything to do with paying for upgrades to the stadium in Charlotte. (I’m not naming the stadium here because it might change as soon as some other company buys its naming rights.)
Let me rephrase that: North Carolina residents asked in the latest Elon University Poll are so against providing $62 million in state funds for the stadium upgrade that they might just become Atlanta or Tampa Bay fans. Heck, they might just become fans of that futbal game played in Europe and South America!
And apparently Gov. Pat McCrory knows it, because he told a group yesterday no state money is available for the team.
Specifically, 85 percent of those surveyed are against the state funding. Perhaps not surprisingly, twice as many Democrats support it — 16 percent — as Republicans, but that’s still less support than Texas barbecue would get in a comparison with Lexington barbecue. (Independent split the diff at 12 percent support.) They probably all live in Charlotte, which has already approved taxing itself to help pay for the stadium improvements.
Poll Director Ken Fernandez: “Although a stadium may help bring in tourism dollars, many residents are likely to see this as a private company asking for a subsidy. Others may see this as a local issue where citizens of Charlotte or Mecklenburg County should decide if they want to use local taxes to help pay for the renovations to Bank of American stadium.
“Recall that in 2001 residents of Charlotte voted against a referendum to raise tax money for a new arena for the Hornets. Today, the Charlotte City Council seems poised to raise over $144 million dollars to help pay for the new renovations, but they will need approval from the state legislature.”
For the record, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams makes $8.7 million.
— John Robinson