When NFL owners meet in Atlanta next week, a vote to approve the record $2.2 billion sale of the Carolina Panthers to hedge fund founder David Tepper is expected to be the final step to transition ownership from founder Jerry Richardson.
According to multiple reports, Tepper’s bid, well above the NFL-record $1.4 billion sale of the Buffalo Bills in 2014, was selected less than five months after Richardson announced he would place the franchise on the market amidst allegations of sexual harassment and racial intolerance in the workplace.
The $2.2 billion price tag is equal to the amount paid by Tilman Fertitta to purchase the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
Tepper, 60, is a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He follows in the footsteps of previous Steelers’ minority owner Jimmy Haslam, who bought the Cleveland Browns. Tepper founded Appaloosa Management and according to Forbes, Tepper’s net worth as of March was $11 billion.
One of the immediate topics of interest in Charlotte is whether Tepper will invest in a stadium renovation or build a new home for the Panthers. The NFL has skirted discussion of relocation other than to suggest the league prefers the stability of teams staying in their current market.
“We think it’s very important that franchises, particularly ones that have achieved the success of the Panthers, stay in the market where they’re playing,” NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart said in February.
Richardson, 81, told fans in January he would seek an ownership bid that kept the team he brought to the NFL in 1995 in North Carolina.
The sale to Tepper, per collective bargaining agreement stipulations, requires an approval vote of three-quarters of NFL team owners. Also according to those guidelines, Tepper must acquire 30 percent of the equity in the club — typically, substantially more — and limit his ownership group to no more than 25 partners. He will also be required to sell his minority stake in the Steelers.
Bank of America Stadium was recently renovated but at 23 years old, is not in the modern class of venues in the NFL.
—Field Level Media