In 2010 and 2011, as the NFL prepared for and staged a lockout of its players, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was among the hardest of the hardliners, urging his fellow owners to “take back our league” by demanding a more management-friendly collective-bargaining agreement. Meanwhile, according to an audited financial statement obtained by Deadspin, Richardson’s Panthers were making more than $100 million in profit over the fiscal years covering those two seasons.
...In one memorable press conference before the work stoppage, Richardson…drew a crude pie chart that showed the players swallowing up a preponderance of league revenue. “I don’t think many business schools would say that’s a model that’s going to sustain itself,” Richardson said, claiming that team owners had “a negative cash flow of $200 million.”
“These franchises are a license to print money,” says Dennis Howard, a business professor at the University of Oregon, who looked over the Panthers’ financial statement at Deadspin’s request.
...Last fall, the team began drawing up plans for renovating Bank of America Stadium, which was built largely with Richardson’s money and which opened in 1996. The Panthers figured renovations would cost $300 million, $200 million of which, they’d hoped, would come out of the public till. Charlotte has been eager to help, to the tune of $144 million.
“Based on the team’s financial condition, there is absolutely no justification for such a large public subsidy,” Howard writes in an email. The financials “show unequivocally that the team has the capacity to finance the improvements on its own. The team could easily pledge a portion of the anticipated increase in TV revenues to finance the debt service for the improvements.”
Debt service? Please. Why pay debt service when you can simply guilt/threaten/bully/goad the taxpayers into giving you a grant? Welfare queens aren't stupid. They know where the money is.