Why David Tepper wants you to pay for his Carolina Panthers legacy

The billionaire wants public funds for his stadium renovations.
David Tepper
David Tepper / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Asking for funds for stadium renovations is a controversial topic. Something that David Tepper found out after revelations about his ambitious plans for Bank of America Stadium became public knowledge.

The Carolina Panthers need a team and facilities to be proud of. Tepper's failed to provide either since buying the franchise from Jerry Richardson for a then-record $2.275 billion, but he's looking to change all that.

Plans for a new practice facility are on track. Tepper's team also announced plans for significant improvements to the stadium worth around $1.2 billion. He's footing the bill for half but wants public money for the rest to keep this football team in the Carolinas for another generation.

David Tepper wants to improve his Carolina Panthers' legacy

This also includes potential discussions for a new stadium by 2037 ahead of a proposed 2046 completion according to documents released before Monday's vote via USA Today Sports. Tepper wants a legacy in Charlotte. He just doesn't want to pay for it all.

"This language does not establish that there will be a new stadium in 2046 but an acknowledgement that Bank of America Stadium will be 50 years old at the end of the current proposed agreement and that the two parties will need to address that. It is also a protective measure for the city that establishes the soonest the two parties would begin those discussions and creates a forecast and timeline for future city staff and ownership. A similar provision has been included in agreements with the Hornets related to the Spectrum Center renovations and is a common stipulation in stadium/arena agreements."

Joe Person via USA Today Sports

Tepper will be 88 years old in 2046. Whether he'll still be the owner by this point is anyone's guess, but the plans keep the Panthers in the region way beyond the billionaire's timeline.

Not everyone is happy with Tepper's demands. He's worth $20.6 billion based on Forbes' net worth. Going with a proverbial begging bowl when services are crying out for investment is perceived by some as cheeky beyond measure. At the same time, it's a complicated matter.

New upgrades and a brand-new facility bring employment and tourism to the region. Charlotte isn't exactly the mecca in terms of market size or an attractive destination. Having world-class facilities is a strong step in pursuit of bringing concerts, the NFL Draft, and perhaps even the Super Bowl to the area.

If these events come to the Panthers, the state will get their money back and more. However, it's not a guarantee. That's why there is some backlash to Tepper's demands.

Asking for public funds is not uncommon around the NFL. It's slowly being phased out and is likely to evaporate entirely once private equity firms are allowed to purchase teams. If Tepper had a better reputation and done more over his first few years of ownership this wouldn't even be a discussion. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

It would be a surprise if Tepper didn't get his wish. While threatening to move the team seems like a drastic last resort, it's something that cannot be dismissed if the vote doesn't go his way. That's backing the state into a corner and it's a problem they'd like to avoid.

People like Tepper don't get generational wealth by spending their own cash. Expect that trend to continue.