By Bryan Smilek, Opinion Writer
The Carolina Panthers are an NFL team located in Charlotte, North Carolina. They came into the league in 1995, and the Charlotte economy has thrived ever since. The team created many local jobs, causing the team to become an integral part of the city’s economy.
As of recently, the team has been put up for sale due to many factors. The main reason being that the owner, Jerry Richardson, has decided to sell the team is because he does not want to distract the team with his personal legal allegations. The sale became official after the team lost in the playoffs to the New Orleans Saints in a January wildcard matchup. Many ownership groups have emerged, one of which is the prominent social figures Diddy and Colin Kaepernick.
However, the main question that has emerged is whether or not a new ownership group will desire to relocate the team. Teams, such as the Los Angeles Rams, have recently moved their teams into a new economy, making a Panthers move feasible. City officials have made it known that the economy would alter mightily, as citizens would lose jobs and local businesses that thrive from tourism as a result of the Panthers hosting games would lose much business. As a result, a local ownership group has emerged and is intending on bidding to buy the economic stimulator that is the Carolina Panthers football organization.
Even with all these talks, is there an actual chance of relocation? Most likely, the teams will not move, in part, because of owners of other teams are enjoying the sight of a thriving Charlotte economy. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, has made it known that he thoroughly desires the Panthers to stay in Charlotte due to the Panthers reviving the city’s economy. In addition, a majority vote would have to be obtained by owners, which is unlikely due to the recent moves by other teams that has created economic turnover in cities like St. Louis. After witnessing many teams relocate, the owners would most likely desire for the remaining teams to stay in their respective cities to avoid controversy by the public.
Another person who prefers that the Panthers do not move is Roger Goodell, the commission of the NFL. He states that he has enjoyed seeing the effects on the city, economically and socially. Also, his comments on Super Bowl Monday affirmed that he intends to seek that the new ownership group will agree to not move the team in the near future when the transaction is processed. By stating such intentions, Goodell has saved the Charlotte economy. So, who really benefits from the Carolina Panthers likelihood to stay in North Carolina? Well, small business owners most definitely thrive from this decision because it keeps tourism relevant in the city. They can continue to expect sales on game-day that would not be made possible without a professional football team’s presence in the Queen City. Additionally, the owners of NFL teams are positively impacted by the team because they earn profit from the ticket sales and concession earnings that occur at each individual game-both home and away. Finally, the people that benefit most from the football team are the citizens of Charlotte. They receive employment with a fantastic organization while connecting with the community through the support of the team on game days. Overall, the decision of the new ownership group is obvious-keep the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte to stimulate the economic growth of the Carolinas region while maintaining the high utility that owners, citizens, and small business owners receive by having the team in town.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 13th print edition.
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