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Volume 27 No. 5
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David Tepper Making Mark On Panthers One Year Into Ownership

Tepper has "brought a fresh approach to a franchise that had grown stagnant" under Richardson
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Tepper has "brought a fresh approach to a franchise that had grown stagnant" under Richardson
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Tepper has "brought a fresh approach to a franchise that had grown stagnant" under Richardson
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

This week marks one year since NFL owners approved the sale of the Panthers to David Tepper, who "does things his own way, never mind what tradition or his net worth might dictate," according to Joseph Person of THE ATHLETIC. Tepper "hit the ground running with some sweeping changes" to the organization when the sale became official. Most recently, he has "spearheaded the negotiations with lawmakers" in South Carolina about funding for a HQ and practice facilities. Tepper also "signed off on the addition" of S Eric Reid and has "left the football operations mostly intact." But Tepper’s "most significant accomplishment is one that’s trickier to measure." Leaders in the Carolinas say that Tepper has "brought a fresh approach to a franchise that had grown stagnant" under former Owner Jerry Richardson. Tepper also has "added a laid-back, open-collar vibe" to the team. The Panthers are in the process of "increasing their use of analytics, which was non-existent under Richardson." NASCAR team co-owner Felix Sabates, who was rumored to be in the mix to buy the Panthers, said of Tepper, "He’s a big thinker. He’s not one of these guys that looks at a dollar going out the window (and thinks) it may not come back. Everything he does is very thought out. He knows how to execute things" (THEATHLETIC.com, 5/22). 

DOUBLING DOWN: SI.com's Jonathan Jones wrote Tepper is embracing South Carolina in "ways unseen during the team’s 25-year history." Tepper sees a state that "could be more enthusiastic about its NFL team, and thus make his franchise more money." However, "one big reason why Tepper wants a presence in both states lies in the future of sports betting." He is "hedging his bet on which state legalizes sports gambling first." Then, "if and when both do, he could, in theory, double dip." Tepper said getting people used to legalized sports betting "takes time, especially down here in the Belt." He added, "When other states around you do it, it’ll come. It becomes a revenue issue" (SI.com, 5/22).

TEAM COMES FIRST: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Juliet Chung reports Tepper plans to turn his hedge fund, Appaloosa LP, "into a family office managing his personal wealth as he spends more time focused on running" the Panthers. An Appaloosa spokesperson said that the firm "hadn't set an exact time table for the return of all outside money" to investors. Sources said Tepper is now "focused on turning around the Panthers and increasing revenues," such as "improving the stadium and striking lucrative partnerships" (WSJ.com, 5/23). NFL owners yesterday approved the sale of Tepper’s minority stake in the Steelers, which was a requirement of his '18 purchase of the Panthers (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY).