On Sunday, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that officials from Los Angeles have had discussions with Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson about a possible relocation of his NFL franchise. Schefter reported that talks occurred at the Democratic National Convention, held at Bank of America Stadium earlier this summer.
The talks were initiated because the panthers own their own stadium and a move would not precipitate getting out of a municipal lease. Richardson has been in talks with local Charlotte government officials in order to secure some improvements for Bank of America Stadium.
The news of Schefter reporting the meeting caused Richardson and the Panthers releasing a statement on Sunday afternoon. From the Panthers official website, Carolina released the following: “It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of the Panthers. Nothing has changed. As someone who was born in North Carolina and lived much of my life in South Carolina, I would hope that there would be no doubts about my personal devotion to the Carolinas.”
Richardson reportedly met with Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigoas. His office released a statement confirming the meeting and said that his office has held meetings with several NFL officials in order to gauge interest of potential relocation of teams and securing a team to enter the Los Angeles market. The mayor said that his office was not specifically targeting the Carolina Panthers.
I believe the Panthers will be staying where they are currently. They are currently eighth in the league in attendance numbers, averaging 73, 485 fans per game. This is the first time the Panthers have been mentioned in any relocation discussions. True, Richardson has been interested in making improvements to his stadium, but it’s more likely that those improvements are needed in order to held Charlotte secure a bid to host a Super Bowl, something that was reported in October.