SBD/Issue 1/Franchises

Panthers Boost Corporate Roster To 115 Companies

The NFL Panthers have increased their corporate roster to 115 companies from 101 a year ago, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. One of the additions, Lowe’s, is returning as a team sponsor after leaving the club in '05 after inking a deal with the Bobcats.  The company is currently paying $600,000-700,000 annually for its sponsorship with the Panthers and about $1.5-2M annually for its Bobcats deal.  U.S. Airways also returned as a Panthers sponsor this season with a $250,000-$300,000 deal.  Several "major sponsorship categories expire after the current season,” and the Panthers could “stick with the current sponsors, split the categories by adding more companies or sign new deals with exclusive providers.” Wireless telecommunications and automotive sponsors “each generate $2[M] annually for the team,” and three incumbents --  Alltel, SunCom and Motorola -- split the wireless sector, while Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep of the Carolinas has had an exclusive auto deal with the team since its inception.   Panthers President Mark Richardson forecasts a 5-10% increase in total revenue for '07 (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/7 issue).

Colleague Lauds Richardson As
One Of NFL's Leading Owners
RICHARDSONS: In a separate piece, Spanberg writes the Richardson family, which owns the Panthers, “ushered in a new way of doing business” for NFL franchises.  Their approach, “driven by the sale of seat licenses to fund stadium construction, gained attention at the NFL’s highest levels. Soon after, [Owner] Jerry Richardson became a player in league circles.” The Panthers generated $199M in revenue last season, and Forbes recently ranked the franchise in the top half of the NFL for overall value at $936M.  Patriots President Jonathan Kraft said, “The Richardsons are one of the leading families in the league. They’re in a small- to medium-sized market and yet they are one of the higher-revenue clubs. They pioneered the concept of building a stadium privately and, at the same time, they’ve committed a lot of time and energy to the league as a whole” (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/7 issue).  Jerry Richardson ranked eighth on SportsBusiness Journal's list of most influential people in the NFL.

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