Steelers minority owner David Tepper buys the Panthers. What you need to know, in a 2-minute read
The Panthers are now out of Jerry Richardson’s hands.
On Wednesday, Jerry Richardson reached an agreement to sell hisCarolina Panthers. After announcing the team was up for sale in mid-December, the Panthers will now be under hedge fund manager David Tepper’s command.
The Panthers had been owned by Richardson since their inception. He announced his bid in December 1987 for an expansion franchise in the Carolinas, and the Panthers played their first season in 1995.
Allegations against Richardson surfaced in 2017. In December, Sports Illustrated published a report on an early Sunday afternoon as NFL games were kicking off. Among the allegations were sexually inappropriate comments directed at female employees:
Among those in heaviest rotation: Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans. Did you step into those jeans or did you have to jump into them?
There was also allegedly a racial slur directed at a former team scout:
Perceptions of casual racism hardened recently when, multiple sources told SI, Richardson directed a racial slur at an African-American scout for the Panthers. The scout left the team this year — but not, according to sources, before he sought the counsel of a Charlotte attorney who negotiated a confidential settlement on his behalf. Contacted by SI and asked if he wished to comment, the scout responded, “I’m not in a position to talk.”
That led to Richardson putting the team up for sale. After the Sports Illustrated report, Richardson released a statement that evening announcing his intent to sell the team:
Tina Becker was named the COO.This came after the announcement of the team being up for sale. Becker has been with the Panthers for over 20 years, and has had full control of the team’s day-to-day operations since.
The Panthers are the first NFL franchise to be sold since 2014. The Buffalo Bills were purchased in 2014 for $1.1 billion by Terry and Kim Pegula. In 2012, the Browns were sold to Jimmy Haslam for $1 billion, and the Jaguars went to Shad Khan for $770 million in 2011. So there’s no question the value of NFL franchises has gone up.
The Panthers’ sale is a record $2.275 billion, more than the $2.2 billion the NBA’s Houston Rockets fetched a year ago:
The official sale price of the Carolina #Panthers is $2.275 billion, source said. $2.2 billion of that sum will be paid in cash by new owner David Tepper. This is a new record price for the purchase of a US sports franchise.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 16, 2018
Tepper was the frontrunner. Tepper is a hedge fund manager whose net worth comes in around $11 billion. He has been a minority owner of Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009, and now he’ll have to sell his 5 percent stake in the team. He had been one of the top candidates to buy the Panthers since the sale was first announced. Billionaire Ben Navarro, who reportedly wanted Peyton Manning to join his bid, was also in the running. However, it became clear to Navarro last week that Tepper had emerged as the favorite.
The NFL owners will put it up for vote next week. The spring league meeting will be held in Atlanta on May 21-23. There, the NFL owners are expected to vote on, and approve, the sale. The official closing will be in July, per the Panthers.