Carolina Panthers

S.C. lawmakers could consider change in state law to lure Carolina Panthers

Potential Carolina Panthers training location

Panthers owner David Tepper has made facility improvements a priority in the short term, particularly for the team’s practice facilities. Several recent media reports have indicated that the Panthers are honing in on sites in York County, S.C.
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Panthers owner David Tepper has made facility improvements a priority in the short term, particularly for the team’s practice facilities. Several recent media reports have indicated that the Panthers are honing in on sites in York County, S.C.

South Carolina legislators could consider changing state law in order to bring the Carolina Panthers’ new team headquarters and training facilities to the state.

Discussions about a new campus are in their preliminary stages. The Charlotte Observer has reported that the Panthers may be drumming up interest from both Carolinas to get the best incentives deal, much like other corporations in the Charlotte region have done.

Panthers owner David Tepper and other team officials are scheduled to meet with S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and legislative leaders at the Governor’s Mansion at 9 a.m. Wednesday, sources told The State.

The Panthers’ legal team also met with a top state senator last week to discuss legislation that might be necessary to move the Panthers across the border.

The conversation was generally about South Carolina’s existing economic incentive laws, and how they might need changing in order to qualify the Panthers for incentives.

For example, under S.C. law, players on the Panthers’ 53-man roster don’t work enough hours to count as full-time employees. The S.C. Legislature would need to pass a revision to that law so the Panthers could get credit — and incentives — for bringing more jobs to the Palmetto State.

South Carolina also could look at offering improvements to roads in and out of a facility or water and sewer improvements.

Details of the incentives being discussed were unavailable Tuesday. Panthers lawyers shared few details of their plans, a source said.

The team’s evaluation process to find a new campus site in the Carolinas is ongoing, and York and other nearby S.C. counties are likely under consideration, the Observer has reported.

“I view this as the Carolina Panthers in both states, so we have to think about where we’re putting things,” Tepper said during his introductory press conference at Bank of America Stadium in July.

The Panthers have spoken with Rock Hill about moving the NFL team’s facilities to the city, according to U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman and Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys.

Team executives met Feb. 5 with Norman and Gettys at the Panthers’ facilities, Norman, a Rock Hill Republican, told McClatchy on Monday.

“(We) made the pitch for locating their practice (facility) to York County and will have further meetings as our sites to consider become finalized,” Norman said.

Gettys said Tuesday that, to his knowledge, talks haven’t come down to specific locations.


“I’ve talked to them, but I think they’ve talked to several (areas),” Gettys said. “We’ll see what they do.”

The NFL franchise’s discussions with South Carolina — held in multiple meetings with state and local leaders this year, The State reported — have reached the highest levels of state government.

The governor’s office invited top lawmakers — including party leaders in both legislative chambers — to the Wednesday meeting, which is expected to last up to two hours, two sources familiar with the meeting told The State.

Reports also have pointed to the former Knights Stadium site in Fort Mill or a site near Carowinds theme park. The AAA Charlotte Knights played at the stadium until moving to a new stadium in uptown Charlotte beginning with the 2014 season.

Fort Mill Times reporter John Marks and The State reporter Bristow Marchant contributed.

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Bristow Marchant is currently split between covering Richland County and the 2020 presidential race. He has more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.
Avery G. Wilks is The State’s senior S.C. State House and politics reporter. He was named the 2018 S.C. Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association. He grew up in Chester, S.C., and graduated from the University of South Carolina’s top-ranked Honors College in 2015.
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