Posted March 07, 2013

Report: Leaked documents reveal Panthers made $112M profit while owner cried poor

NFL
Jerry Richardson was vocal in demanding collective bargaining concessions from NFLPA. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Jerry Richardson has been vocal in demanding collective bargaining concessions from the NFLPA. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

At a time when Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was a vocal, hardline owner favoring lockouts to “take back our league,” the franchise was actually making more than $100 million in profit according to a Deadspin report.

The report cites a leaked team audited financial statement obtained by Deadspin for the years ending March 31, 2011, and March 31, 2012.

Over the first period, as Richardson argued that the NFL’s business model was hopelessly broken and steered the owners toward a showdown to extract more money from the players, the Panthers recorded an operating profit of $78.7 million. The team had gone 2-14 on the field, but Richardson and his partners were able to pay themselves $12 million.

Over the following year, after the owners had won their lockout and reduced the players’ share of league revenue from 50 percent to 47 percent, the Panthers brought in $33.3 million in operating profit. Richardson began lobbying for public subsidies to renovate his 17-year-old stadium. The team went 6-10.

Professional sports franchises are reluctant to publicly open their books. Duringcollective bargaining in 2011, the NFL Players Association repeatedly asked team owners to reveal their financials, only to be denied. Union execs question teams’ lack of true financial transparency with details such as stadium deals that can so easily be hidden.

Deadspin’s report could put a crimp in the Panthers’ current campaign to obtain favorable public funding toward upgrading Bank of America Stadium. While the city of Charlotte appears willing to help with funds, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory is among state politicians saying there are no funds to be had.


11 comments
TherealdanMcKelvey
TherealdanMcKelvey

He owns Denny's restaurants...He is a cheap, cheap man...He can't help it...He suffered the first concussion in the NFL....He has screwed over the Charlotte fans for years.....He is a POS......NFL should never have granted Charlotte and Jacksonville franchises...Bad idea for two minor league towns at best....

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

We need Congress to pass a law making it impossible for taxpayer funds to be used to build any professional sports stadium or arena. Then the blackmail would be over. Billionaire owners, multi-millionaire players - but they need public subsidies?

mikalrod
mikalrod

I see high cholesterol in one eye, and dollar signs in the other. The man is obviously sick.

Action
Action

Something I've noticed about very rich people is that they always seem to want more money.  On some level I respect their work ethic, but sometimes it just gets obnoxious.  This is one of those instances.  Richardson is entitled to keep his financial information private, but don't lie to us about losing money when that isn't the case.

James22
James22

This article is sorely lacking in context.

bithomas2
bithomas2

This would certainly explain how the team has been managed over the past few seasons.

keithb
keithb

As a lifelong Panthers fan (Panther's life, not mine), this team keeps giving me reason (drafting Cam Newton) after reason (read above) to get a new favorite team. Damn you Panthers!

EasyGoer
EasyGoer

Wow, I just can't believe a fat-cat owner would lie about how much money his team was making (or losing).

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

Richardson made his initial fortune off of Hardee's and Carl's Junior burger chains, so as long as there are Southerners he'll never be in the poorhouse...

eddiej
eddiej

@Action you are contradicting yourself,if you went to get a loan and overstated how much you made that's fraud.A crime!J Rich & owners crying poor for taxpayer money without showing books,that's a crime.Just say the owners are right to steal,it's ok crazy but it's your right.

jrholtman
jrholtman

@M as in Mancy I think the issue here how he is increasing his wealth while intentionally or not giving the public a below average product and asking for public money so he can make a bigger profit. And you wondered why the leagues don't want to open their books?