Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper was a little tongue-in-cheek when, after a charity event on Tuesday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium, he doubled back to drop one final tidbit to reporters.
Tepper was getting questions from a small scrum of media about upcoming facility changes or enhancements and related projects after the event, which provided $120,000 in funding to Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary school teachers.
“What I would love, if we could ever do it and get people to support it,” he said, grinning as he turned to walk away from the scrum, “is to put some sort of roof on here and have a Final Four in North Carolina. ... I love that idea. It drives me nuts.”
Naturally, that created a little bit of a buzz.
But there are a lot of other infrastructural plans more immediately relevant to Tepper and his associates, in regard to the stadium and new practice facilities, before the idea — or feasibility — of a roof is even realistically considered.
For example, the Panthers will construct a practice bubble over one of their three outdoor practice fields as early as this summer.
But Panthers fans — and NCAA basketball fans, of which there are plenty in North Carolina — are buzzing about the possibility of a roof over Bank of America Stadium.
Clayton Sealey, a Panthers fan and creative director currently working in New York, made a rendering on PhotoShop last spring that showed what the Panthers’ stadium could look like with a roof. At the time, the design was a part of an April Fool’s prank for “ExploreCLT.”
But the sleek design re-surfaced Tuesday night after Tepper’s comments.
While the idea of a roof is an exciting prospect to consider, Tepper was far more serious about making more use of the stadium for non-football activities. These range from charitable pursuits, like Tuesday afternoon’s event, to other sporting events and concerts.
“There are a lot of things we can be and will be doing for the community, to use this stadium more,” he said. “It shouldn’t just be an eight, 10-game event. ... We probably will be expanding that in one way or another.
“Some of these things take a little bit of time. ... Listen, I would love to have the (Rolling) Stones here,” Tepper added, laughing. “I would love to have the Stones here. But we couldn’t do it at this point. We’ll look to have some concerts in here. Some of these things are planned out in advance — we are looking now into how to (have more events).
“I don’t know if there is anything additional planned, but there is a lot of stuff on the table.”