WASHINGTON -- Charlotte, N.C., which was awarded one of two National Football League expansion teams Tuesday night, was the only city in the running for a franchise that plans to use private financing to build a stadium for its team.
The four other cities still vying for a second league expansion slot plan to use municipal bonds to build new stadiums or expand existing facilities. They will have to wait at least another month to see which is selected because the 28 current NFL team owners were unable to agree on the second city during their meeting in Chicago.
A vote whether to award the second franchise to Baltimore, St. Louis, Memphis, or Jacksonville, Fla., will not be held until Nov. 30, when the team owners are scheduled to reconvene in Chicago, NFL officials said.
Charlotte, selected unanimously by a 12-man joint finance and expansion committee and all 28 team owners, plans to build a 72,000-seat, $160 million stadium. It will be privately financed by having ticket buyers pay $600 to $5,400 for the right to purchase season tickets.
The team, to be called the Carolina Panthers, is primarily owned by Jerry Richardson, a wide receiver in the 1950s for the Baltimore Colts. Richardson also owns Flagstar Inc., which operates 1,000 Denny's and 500 Hardees restaurants.
Postponing a final decision on the second franchise appears to leave St. Louis and Memphis in a better position than Baltimore or Jacksonville.
Because Charlotte was awarded a team, wire service reports say, the league wants to put the final expansion team in the central time zone, which would appear to give the advantage to both St. Louis and Memphis.
Of the two cities, reports indicate that St. Louis may be the front-runner after a well-financed group took control of the St. Louis bid earlier this week.
St. Louis has already started construction on a 70,000-seat, domed stadium at a cost of $250 million. The facility, financed with tax-exempt bonds, is part of an expansion of the city's convention center.
In Baltimore, officials have plans to build a stadium next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play, if they are awarded the remaining NFl franchise. The stadium's $150 million cost would be financed in part through the issuance of about $90 million of bonds.
Jacksonville, Fla., officials already have committed to making about $50 million of improvements to the Gator Bowl, financed with part of the proceeds of a $219 million bond issue that was closed yesterday. The improvements are designed for college games. An additional $71 million in improvements also would be financed with revenue bonds to bring the facility up to NFL standards if the city wins a franchise.
Memphis has to make $60 million of improvements to its Liberty Bowl. The stadium underwent a $21 million refurbishing in 1987. City finance officials could not be reached for comment on how the renovation would be funded, but the improvements would be publicly financed.
Of the 27 stadiums now used for NFL football -- the Giants and Jets share Giants Stadium -- at least 21 were built or renovated with municipal bonds.
Another four stadiums were built with funds provided by the localities that host them, though officials in those jurisdictions were unable to say whether bond proceeds or tax dollars were used. Just two of the stadiums were privately financed.
Charlotte and the yet-to-be named second team will begin play in 1995. The NFL's expansion is the first since 1976, when Seattle and Tampa Bay joined the league.