Panthers consider building indoor training facility

jperson@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 12, 2013 

The Panthers’ renovation plans could spill out of Bank of America Stadium and include a new indoor practice facility.

Somewhere John Fox is smirking.

The former Panthers coach used rainy days during his nine years in Charlotte as an opportunity to mention the team’s need for an indoor facility. Now that Fox is in Denver, the Panthers are talking about building a practice bubble.

Panthers President Danny Morrison unveiled the team’s proposed stadium upgrades this week at a meeting with a group of Observer reporters and editors. Included in the nearly $300 million plan is a line item for an indoor facility.

“As you try to stay competitive, that is something that a lot of NFL teams are doing,” Morrison said.

Morrison said the Panthers would like to build the facility in “close proximity” to the stadium, although they don’t own any of the adjacent land.

Fox would take his team to a private indoor facility in north Charlotte to escape the rain. The Panthers have practiced in a ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center a couple of times during Ron Rivera’s first two seasons.

The Panthers have $30 million earmarked for an indoor facility and improvements to other “team areas,” including the locker room, meeting rooms and coaches’ offices.

Morrison estimated the Panthers would use the facility for 10 percent of their practices. He said the team would like to find other partners to share the facility, but would not say if those leagues or teams would share in the cost.

Fox notwithstanding, there might be some who question why a team in a warm-weather city such as Charlotte needs an indoor practice site. Morrison, the former TCU athletic director, was skeptical when TCU began construction on one.

“I thought when we were building it, it was just for recruiting purposes and the other 19 sports to use,” Morrison said. “But the reality is we used it more than I imagined.”

No change in ticket prices: The Panthers’ ticket prices will remain unchanged for a third consecutive season, Morrison said.

Non-premium seats for PSL owners range from $39 to $109, while single-game tickets again will cost between $52 to $97. The Panthers will begin selling their group and two-game packages in May, before putting single-game tickets on sale this summer.

Prices for new PSLs also are the same, beginning at $2,000 a seat.

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