The Carolina Panthers are up for sale for the first time in history, and a recent report from NBC Charlotte indicated that NASCAR CEO Brian France could be interested in purchasing the team.
NASCAR denied the story, and France hasn’t spoken on the record about the report. However, this isn’t the first time France has been linked to an NFL team.
According to the Washington Post, Magic Johnson reached out to France in 2005 about possibly bringing the Rams to Los Angeles. France denied that report then as well.
WLTX reported that there are three sources indicating that France would lead a group including Felix Sabates to purchase the team from current owner Jerry Richardson.
Charlotte Business Journal reporter Erik Spanberg said he could see France purchasing the team, and he estimated his net worth at about $5.7 billion via Forbes.
France has owned NASCAR since 2003, and he took over the sport from his father. It wouldn’t be surprised if France was interested in the Panthers given his proximity to the franchise, and he would actually be a logical candidate.
France isn’t the only person with NASCAR ties who has been linked to buying the team. The Smith family — which owns Speedway Motorsports, Inc. — is also considering buying the team.
However, CEO Marcus Smith is more concerned with bringing a MLS team to Charlotte, so it’s unclear if they are going to pursue the Panthers.
Richardson has owned the Panthers since the team was formed in 1993, so this will be the first time the team has been up for sale. The speculation surrounding France is just a rumor for now, but it will be intriguing to monitor whether he becomes a real player to buy the team.