Baltimore's NFL hopes have gotten a boost from an unexpected source: a powerful bank chairman backing the rival football bid of Charlotte, N.C.
Hugh McColl, chairman of the Charlotte-based NationsBank, said, "Baltimore has a lot of things going for it, like the success of Camden Yards."
In a telephone interview last week, he said he sees it as a three-way race among Baltimore, Charlotte, N.C., and St. Louis, Mo. He said he thinks all three cities stand a good chance of getting football, either by expansion or team movement.
Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., are also finalists for the two expansion franchises the league is planning to award this fall.
Although not an investor, McColl is involved heavily in Charlotte's efforts to attract a franchise. As one of the NFL's major bankers, he is considered a major asset for the city's football chances.
NationsBank is in the process of completing a merger with the Baltimore-based MNC Financial Inc., a transaction that will make NationsBank the largest bank in Maryland.
McColl raised a few eyebrows in the local business community last month when, at a dinner held by the Greater Baltimore Committee, he said he thought Baltimore may have moved ahead of Charlotte in the expansion race, according to several people in attendance at the April 7 dinner.