As Tepper's Panthers Weigh Moving HQ, Charlotte Mayor Shrugs

Amanda Albright and Jenny Surane
Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- The fight over who gets to keep the Carolina Panthers headquarters may not be much of a fight at all.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said she understands why new National Football League team owner David Tepper may move the team’s practice facility and headquarters to South Carolina. Her city is booming -- and she concedes that the team’s seven-acre outdoor practice facility in the heart of town could arguably be put to more profitable use by the billionaire hedge fund titan.

“We know that anything he does within our region is a success,” she said in an interview.

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Tepper met with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and state lawmakers last week to discuss building a new facility in the state, according to local media reports. Tepper had previously said that the team’s practice facilities are not as good as those of other NFL teams.

South Carolina is actively trying to woo the the team to the state. A bill introduced in the legislature this month would allow professional sports teams to be eligible for a jobs tax credit.

The Panthers’ relocation could involve more than 150 employees, coaches, players and executives, it says. If the team moved to York County, South Carolina, about 36 miles (58 kilometers) from the team’s stadium in Charlotte, the company could receive a tax credit of $1,500 for each full-time job created, according to the legislation.

Lyles said her focus is keeping the Panthers playing in Charlotte. “That’s our biggest retention project,” she said.

And it might be the bigger potential fight to watch. To lure the NFL’s Raiders from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas, officials in Nevada extended public financing for a new $1.8 billion stadium with a state-of-the-art, glass-domed roof. Tepper told reporters last month he was interested in adding a roof to Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, which opened in 1996 and was privately financed.

(Updates with account of governor’s meeting in fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Amanda Albright in New York at aalbright4@bloomberg.net;Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Crombie at jcrombie8@bloomberg.net, ;Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, William Selway, Scott Soshnick

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