Days before league owners approved his $2.275 billion purchase of the Carolina Panthers, David Tepper told a commencement crowd in his hometown of Pittsburgh that his own family was unable to afford NFL tickets.
That humble background no doubt is on his mind as Tepper, who built a net worth of more than $11 billion as a hedge fund manager, figures out how to approach his role as team owner.
Friday night, in the team’s first home game under his ownership, Tepper wasted no time getting to know some of the people who fill Bank of America Stadium each week.
Tepper was spotted around the stadium tailgating with fans, including local booster group Roaring Riot.
Twitter was soon lit up with photos and commentary.
Reaction was positive.
Tepper even got a new nickname, “Tepcat.” (Former owner Jerry Richardson was often called the “Big Cat.”)
A video of Tepper dancing at midfield with the team mascot appeared on Sir Purr’s Twitter page.
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen took a moment to welcome his new boss to the stadium before the game.
There are no doubt more changes — big and small — coming as Tepper puts his stamp and personality on the Panthers. Friday offered a sampling.