Changes on the way for the Carolina Panthers
Author: Kelsey Riggs, Keiji Hiramoto
Published: 2:05 PM EST March 4, 2018
Updated: 2:05 PM EST March 4, 2018
PANTHERS 0 Articles

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It may be a few months still before we see the Panthers team sale complete, but right now there are two front runners.

NFL insiders tell NBC Charlotte that Ben Navarro and David Tepper are the two major bidders in the process right now, but that Jerry Richardson has received a "ton of interest" from potential bidders wanting to buy the team.

The Charlotte Observer first reported that Ben Navarro was putting together a bid to buy the Panthers, and NFL Network's Mike Garafola reported David Tepper's interest.

Navarro is listed as the CEO and owner of Sherman Financial Group, a debt collection agency in Charleston.

Garafolo reportedly spoke to a source who called Tepper the "leader in the clubhouse" to purchase the team. Tepper is worth about $11 billion, according to Forbes. The hedge fund manager currently owns a five percent stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Network reports.

Back in January, sources told NBC Charlotte that NASCAR owner Brian France was a part of a group assembled by Felix Sabates that is hoping to buy the Panthers.

Sabates told NBC Charlotte's Rad Berky that Bruton Smith, who operates the Charlotte Motor Speedway and other tracks across the country, had discussions with Sabates about joining the group, as did Smith's son Marcus.

Sabates also told NBC Charlotte that if his group does buy Richardson's team, they would need a new domed stadium with parking for 20,000 cars.

Back in December, Hip-hop mogul Diddy had expressed interest in purchasing the Panthers hours after Richardson announced his plans to sell the team. NBA star and Charlotte native Stephen Curry showed support for Diddy by tweeting "I want in!"

Curry is known for being a Panthers fan. He was selected by the Panthers to be the team's "Keep Pounding" drummer prior to Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

The Panthers are worth $2.3 billion, according to Forbes. In 1993, Richardson and a group of investors paid $206 million to create the franchise.

Because of the large interest of bidders wanting to buy the team, it's not likely the owners will discuss the sale and vote until the league meetings in May.