Now that their season has concluded, the Carolina Panthers could hit the market and undergo a sale process that will be closely followed as it unfolds.
Last month, it was announced that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson would put the team on the market after a report by Sports Illustrated indicated that at least four former Panthers employees were given monetary settlements after coming forward with complaints about inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by Richardson. It was indicated by the Panthers that the sale process would not begin until after the season had concluded. While the team did reach the NFL playoffs, its run ended on Sunday with a Wild Card game loss to the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
With that loss, the effort to sell the team could be moving forward. Throughout the process, several areas should be monitored closely. Aside from what bidders emerge and the potential sale price of the team, there will be questions about whether prospective owners of the Panthers will lobby to replace the team’s Bank of America Stadium with a new facility. More from The Charlotte Observer:
Speculation has already started over who could buy the Panthers. Rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs was one of the first to express interest, garnering support from NBA star Steph Curry and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates and some of the team’s current minority owners are part of a local group putting together a bid. Sabates has said a new stadium is necessary to make a bid worthwhile.
According to Forbes, the Panthers have a net worth of $2.3 billion, but experts have said the team could go for as much as $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion. The Pegulas paid $1.4 billion for the Bills, a record amount for an NFL team.
In a visit to Charlotte Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper called the Panthers “critical to the Charlotte area and North Carolina’s economy.” Cooper also said he has begun consulting local civic and business leaders about ways the state can help keep the Panthers here.
While the Panthers and the City of Charlotte have completed renovations to Bank of America Stadium in recent years, there has been discussion about whether a new ownership group would seek to replace with it a domed or retractable-roof stadium. Such a facility could be pitched as a way to bring more high-profile events to Charlotte, including the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl. That model has been reflected in the recent openings of some new NFL venues, such as the domed U.S. Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings)–which is hosting next month’s Super Bowl–and the retractable-roof Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta Falcons)
The open-air Bank of America Stadium has been home to the Panthers since it debuted for the 1996 season.
Image of Bank of America Stadium courtesy Carolina Panthers.
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