The Carolina Panthers will soon be up for sale, but the state of North Carolina will work to keep the team in Charlotte.
In a visit to Charlotte Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper called the Panthers “critical to the Charlotte area and North Carolina’s economy.” Cooper also said he has begun consulting local civic and business leaders about ways the state can help keep the Panthers here.
“I want them to stay here. I don’t see any reason that a change of ownership would cause either the Panthers or the NFL to want this great team to move,” Cooper said at Cotswold Elementary, which he was visiting to discuss class sizes and teacher pay.
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who brought the NFL to the Carolinas in the early 1990s, last month announced that he would be selling the team at the end of the 2017 season.
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The announcement of the team’s sale followed a Sports Illustrated report that alleges years of workplace misconduct by Richardson. The NFL is conducting an investigation of the alleged misconduct.
“I cannot imagine any owner that would buy this team who would want to move it. Obviously we want them to be here, and I’m open to options that local leaders and business leaders would have as we go forward,” Cooper said.
New owners could opt to move the team out of Charlotte, renovate Bank of America Stadium or build a new, bigger field if they stay, experts say. The owners could request taxpayer money from the state, county and city for renovations or new construction, as the Panthers have done in the past.