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Volume 26 No. 183
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NFL Panthers Push For MLS Team With Guarantee Of Suite Sales

Tepper has made it clear he wants an MLS team in Charlotte since he bought the Panthers last year
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Tepper has made it clear he wants an MLS team in Charlotte since he bought the Panthers last year
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Tepper has made it clear he wants an MLS team in Charlotte since he bought the Panthers last year
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NFL Panthers execs said that there are "at least 60 companies willing to spend $100,000 annually to buy luxury suites" at Bank of America Stadium if MLS were to place a team in Charlotte, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The suite pledges "would dwarf many existing teams" in MLS. Panthers President Tom Glick and VP/Ticket Sales & Services Joe LaBue said that the team has "spent recent months conducting corporate and fan surveys to better gauge interest in an MLS team." In addition to corporate interest, Glick "predicted season ticket sales in the range of 30,000 for a Charlotte MLS team." There are "no intent letters, ticket deposits or commitments for season tickets." Glick and LaBue said that they "gathered the MLS suite pledges from surveys and focus groups conducted only with existing Panthers' suite holders." Glick noted that adding soccer at the stadium "would require a separate payment from suite holders in the range of $100,000 per year" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/10).

THE ACTION MAN: ESPN.com's David Newton profiled Panthers Owner David Tepper, who has been an "agent of change and progress in North and South Carolina" since buying the team one year ago this week. Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell said of Tepper, "I call him the action man. He's all about action." Mitchell added since Tepper arrived in Charlotte, it has been "like a breath of fresh air." Glick said, "David identified his priorities early on and that was winning on the field and in the community." Glick: "He's done an outstanding job of doing his homework, listening to fans and making the right adjustments to help our organization find competitive advantages." Newton noted Tepper has been "active in the community," though he mostly has done so "quietly, so as not to direct attention to himself." Panthers LB Luke Kuechly said Tepper "likes talking ball," and he is "just a guy that enjoys the game." He added, "That's the thing you notice the most. He wants to come in, have fun, but he also wants to win." Panthers COO & VP Mark Hart said, "David is just getting started. This first year he has done a lot of listening and research so now we have a much better feel for what is really needed" (ESPN.com, 7/9).