Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Do Panthers have a future in Charlotte?
By Tom Carpenter
According to Erik Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal, Charlotte Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has mandated that the team be sold two years after his death. Ever since Richardson fired his sons Jon and Mark as executives in 2009, it has been unclear who would take control of the team should Richardson pass. Richardson is 76 years old and had a heart bypass four years ago, but he is apparently in good health at this time.
Nonetheless, ESPN NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas thinks this announcement puts Charlotte on the spot if they don't want to lose their NFL franchise down the road:
"The news of the mandate comes at a time when the Panthers have been in talks with Charlotte leaders about getting funding for renovations to Bank of America Stadium. Government officials have seemed receptive toward financing improvements to a stadium that has been sold out for all but two home games in franchise history.
But the news of Richardson’s mandate adds another wrinkle. As long as Richardson is around and owns the team, I can’t see him allowing the Panthers to leave Charlotte. But all bets could be off if the team is sold.
The best way for local leaders to assure the Panthers stay in Charlotte is to include a deal in the financing that requires Richardson and any other future owner to stay put."