From an article in the Greensboro News-Record, some stats for the Panthers, on the heels of their improbable run last season:
Between the NFC championship and the Super Bowl, the team saw a 3,448 percent increase in merchandise sales over the same two-week period in 2003.
...The spillover into the 2004 season hasn’t been nearly as dramatic, of course, but business has been good. Game-day merchandise sales at the stadium are up 47 percent.
...An 18 percent increase in ticket prices, bringing the average Panthers ticket to $50.23. [Note: Virtually all Panther games are sellouts].
...The annual sale of personal seat licenses, which require a one-time payment for lifetime season-ticket rights and essentially paid for the construction of the Panthers’ privately financed stadium, have more than doubled to 1,400 in 2004.
...Sponsorship sales ... are up 20 percent from last year.
These appear to be facts that should be taken at face value. The article errs, however, in the following assertion:
The Panthers’ success likely won’t have any impact on the city’s economy, though, largely because the team owns the stadium, radio broadcast rights, Internet site, you name it.
Who owns what has little to do with the breadth of the economic impact. The Richardsons are local people, so the windfall is not flowing out to New York City, per se. The real issue is that the money collected by the Richardsons' comes out of the pockets of local citizens, who are spending money on the football team, and not somewhere else. That the Richardsons have put a more competitive product in the marketplace does not boost the cash flow of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, it reduces it.