In 1992, the NFL released the list of five areas open to a potential NFL team: Baltimore, Maryland, St. Louis, Missouri, Memphis, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Florida, and the Carolinas, represented by Charlotte. After the vote was delayed because of a dispute between the players and the league, the race began again in 1993. In June of that year, Richardson Sports announced that they would finance the stadium through the sale of Permanent Seat Licenses, club seats, and luxury boxes.
In a stunning show of fan support, all seats were sold out by the end of the first day. The feasibility of the team was no longer a question, but it was still up to the league to decide where the team would go. On October 26, 1993, the league announced that the owners had unanimously voted for the Carolinas to receive the 29th franchise, the first new NFL team since 1976 (Jacksonville was the other city).Fans all over the region celebrated with fireworks.
In a memorable moment during the expansion announcement conference, Richardson spoke directly into the camera to thank the 40,000 people who had purchased the PSLs and allowing the stadium to be built without a burden to the taxpayers. Even though St. Louis and Baltimore lost out on their expansion bids, they eventually acquired new teams: the Los Angeles Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995. And as the result of the 1996 Cleveland Browns relocation controversy, the Baltimore Ravens were established by the league as technically a new expansion team.
New Orleans, LA
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