By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
November 16, 2012
There’s a new twist in Los Angeles’ quest to land a NFL team. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is courting the Carolina Panthers for relocation because the team is one of four in the NFL that owns its own stadium and wouldn’t have to break a lease to move. Some of the talks are said to have occurred in September during the Democratic National Convention, which was held in Charlotte. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson reportedly would only be interested in moving the team to Los Angeles if Charlotte doesn’t help him pay for renovations to Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers recently met with the city council about renovations, but not specific plans or cost were publicly disclosed.
While intriguing, the news could be nothing more than leverage to get publicly money in Charlotte. Richardson is a lifelong resident of the Carolinas and dreamt of bringing pro football to the region. Frontrunners to relocate remain the San Diego Chargers, who haven’t had success getting a new stadium, and the St. Louis Rams, who have an arbitration hearing in January for renovations to the Edward Jones Dome.