We end 2018 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #4: David Tepper buys the Carolina Panthers.
With ownership of the team in his hands, David Tepper is making long-term plans for the Carolina Panthers. Upgraded facilities are expected to be part of those plans, and there were signs this year that the organization is exploring its options.
Movement toward new ownership for the Panthers began in late 2017. Last December, it was announced that then 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. The sale process did not begin until after the Panthers concluded their season, with Tepper eventually emerging from a competitive field of suitors to buy the club for a reported $2.2 billion.
Ownership of the Panthers officially changed hands in July. In the months since, there have been signs that Tepper is prioritizing facility upgrades as part of his plans for the organization, including a new training complex and team headquarters. No official announcement on a site has been made by the team, but reports have suggested that building a modern training complex in Charlotte’s South Carolina suburbs could be an option.
Regardless of whether the facility is built in North or South Carolina, it could help the Panthers on a few fronts. It would provide a replacement for the team’s open-air practice fields near uptown Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, and effectively allow that site to be redeveloped.
Over the longer term, the Panthers will likely make some changes to their stadium situation, either in the form of a Bank of America Stadium renovation or a new facility. Tepper has not pitched a formal plan, but he has referred to Charlotte as the “logical place” for the team and could pursue new development opportunities at the site of the existing practice fields if a new training facility renders them obsolete. Any development could, in theory, be tied to a new stadium or a significantly renovated Bank of America Stadium down the road.
Tepper’s purchase of the team will lead to changes that unfold over the long haul. While the long-term facility plans remain to be seen, this year represented a major shakeup for the Panthers and is expected to trigger more changes over the coming years.
Image courtesy Carolina Panthers.
Here’s our Top Ten of 2018 to date: