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Greenville Business Magazine

Gov. Henry McMaster, Legislators Try to Bring Carolina Panthers HQ, Training Facilities to Palmetto State

Mar 13, 2019 02:31PM ● By Chris Haire
Today, Carolina Panthers fans got another glimpse into the post-Jerry Richardson era for the successful NFL franchise, an era which saw the creation of a true two-state team, one that held its summer training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. and played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on gameday.

In a press conference held today, Gov. Henry McMaster announced that he and other state leaders had met with Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper about moving the Panthers' headquarters and training facilities to York or Lancaster counties, just across the border from Charlotte.

McMaster also noted that legislation had been introduced to the General Assembly intending to pave the way for the team's relocation.

Even if the Panthers move to South Carolina -- The State newspaper reports that Rock Hill "is very much on the table" -- they will likely continue to play on Sundays in Charlotte.

"A professional football team is a big business," said S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas. "It involves much more than where you play your football games."

"The fact that the Carolina Panthers are going to [practice in South Carolina] but move their football program to South Carolina is something I never thought I would see," Lucas added.
Like the legislation that brought BMW and Boeing to the Palmetto State, the pro-Panthers package would offer the team various incentives in order to woo them away from their Tarheel home. At press time, the details of that legislation is uncertain.

Tepper, a billionaire hedgefund manager, was not at the Statehouse press conference, and McMaster declined to speak on his behalf. However, there have been rumors for months that the Panthers organization intended to move to Rock Hill, leaving some to speculate that the team's time at Wofford College may be coming to an end.

Such a move would further distance the football squad from Richardson, a Wofford grad who abdicated his Panthers throne following inappropriate sexual and racial allegations. 

During the press conference, McMaster compared bringing the Carolina Panthers to South Carolina to landing BMW, Boeing, and Volvo; however, state officials are generally secretive when they are recruiting big business, often using code names for the various companies.

McMaster said that moving the team to the Palmetto State would be a huge economic boon affecting the tourism and healthcare industries, which would benefit from the Panthers' team of sports medicine experts. "We believe this will be a magnet," the governor said.

Although McMaster was clear that Tepper had yet to make a decision, he insisted that the state is "moving as fast as we can without making any mistakes." He also boasted that in this contest, the state of South Carolina couldn't be beat, thanks to its years of recruiting massive multi-national businesses, saying, "We can outrun anyone on the field."