YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - Several York County leaders say there has been no direct contact with the Panthers organization about owner David Tepper moving practice facilities across the state line, but they are welcoming the idea.
After Voice of the Carolina Panthers Mick Mixon spoke at a York County Regional Chamber meeting in November and mentioned hypothetically the Panthers purchasing several hundred acres of land for practice facilities, the idea took off.
Chairman of the York County Regional Chamber Theron Pickens said Mixon was clearly speaking hypothetically, but they would welcome the idea.
“As far as direct communications with the Panthers organization, no we have not heard anything directly with that,” Pickens said. “But we would do anything we could with respect to the Chamber to welcome Mr. Tepper and the Panthers practice facility.”
County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell told WBTV’s Kristi O’Connor by phone “we are open for business,” but again reiterated they had not heard directly from the Panthers.
Recently, several Charlotte-based companies have relocated to York County, like RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation and LPL Financial. RountPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation announced it would be developing at the SouthBridge site off of Interstate 77 at Gold Hill Road, formerly home to the Charlotte Knights stadium. The property is owned by the Lincoln Harris and Cato corporation and being advertised for business and retail development.
Pickens says there are more than 300 acres of land on the property that could accommodate the Panthers.
“It’s in a great location, we are part of the Charlotte Metropolitan area just over the state line,” Pickens said. “It’s right off of I-77.”
If owner David Tepper did develop south of Charlotte, it would not be the first time the Panthers practiced in York County. When the Panthers organization was first formed, the players practiced at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.
Tom Hickman was the Associate Athletic Director at Winthrop at the time. He says the Panthers paid to develop a full natural grass field and half of an artificial turf field behind the Coliseum. Hickman says the team also converted space in the Coliseum into offices for coaching and management staff. Those offices are still in use today.
“They made a big financial investment into facilities,” Hickman said.
Hickman says the presence of the newly formed NFL team gave York County and Winthrop University a lot more exposure. He thinks the effect would be the same today if the Panthers made a move south.
“We know that it’s a team for both of the Carolinas and I think it’s just a shot in the arm,” Hickman said. “It would be a big economic boost for York County.”
WBTV has reached out to the Panthers organization for comment, but has not yet heard back.