The ongoing process of selling Carolina Panthers appears to be building momentum, meaning NFL owners could vote on a sale in the coming months.
It was announced in December that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was going 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. The sale process did not begin until after the Panthers concluded their season, but the effort appears to be moving along.
According to a report from Pro Football Talk, there is “a general sense among NFL owners in Orlando this week that the sale of the Panthers will wrap up in time to vote on at their May meetings.” It remains to be seen who will ultimately buy the team, but the sale process has reportedly built some momentum. More from Pro Football Talk:
According to a source with knowledge of the process, “at least three more” serious bidders have engaged in serious talks to buy the team beyond those already reported, buyers who insisted on confidentiality as part of any prospective bid.
There are also indications that at least one bidder is planning to be in Charlotte this week to take a first-hand look at what is expected to be a $2.5 billion investment, give or take a few hundred million.
Richardson hasn’t been to any league meetings in years (other than a brief appearance at one in Charlotte), but the investigation into his alleged workplace harassment ensured he won’t be turning up in Orlando this week.
Steelers minority partner David Tepper, South Carolina financier Ben Navarro, Philadelphia e-commerce billionaire Michael Rubin and Canadian steel investor Alan Kestenbaum have been identified as being a part of the process thus far. A report last week suggested that Rubin is no longer in the mix, though the confidentiality agreements signed as part of the process will keep most of these things from becoming known.
One aspect of the sale of the Panthers that could be watched closely is the effect it has on the future of the team’s current home, Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers and the City of Charlotte have completed renovations to the open-air Bank of America Stadium in recent years, but there have been questions 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. The venue originally opened for the Panthers in 1996.
Image of Bank of America Stadium courtesy Carolina Panthers.
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