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Tepper Sports & Entertainment CEO steps down

Kelly was named the president of Charlotte FC in 2020 before accepting his role at TSE in February.
Kelly was named the president of Charlotte FC in 2020 before accepting his role at TSE in February.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 11:15 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Nick Kelly has stepped down as the Tepper Sports & Entertainment CEO, according to an announcement made by the Panthers Wednesday morning.

Kelly was named the president of Charlotte FC in 2020 before accepting his role at TSE in February.

On Tuesday, the WBTV Investigates team reported on TSE’s public-private partnerships with Charlotte and Rock Hill. The Panthers headquarters and practice facilities in Rock Hill are currently on hold and there have been few updates on the projects at Eastland Mall and the Uptown Entertainment District.

[David Tepper’s Deals: Owner dodges questions on Eastland, Rock Hill and Uptown District as hints about stadium renovations emerge]

The announcement came just weeks after the termination of a project in Rock Hill, S.C. that would have provided a new Carolina Panthers facility.

Only a week ago, Panthers and Charlotte FC owner David Tepper supported Kelly’s work when asked during a news conference.

“I think he’s done a really good job in that role,” Tepper said.

“There is always a little bit of a getting used to something, but I think he’s made a fast adaptation.”

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A statement on the Panthers website said Kelly will assist with the transition and Tepper said they appreciated his efforts and wished him well.

There was no indication of why Kelly was stepping down and a spokesperson for the TSE did not provide any additional details.

Kelly replaced Tom Glick as CEO, who left in February.

Just a week and a half ago Kelly was the key speaker, at a Charlotte Rotary meeting and spoke about the future of the NFL and MLS teams and the stadium.

“It’s gonna have to be a fully transparent expectation of what is expected from all parties and more importantly is like you know whose role is what,” Kelly said about building relationships with Charlotte elected officials.

While news about the disputes between Rock Hill and TSE have steadily made headlines, those disagreements and issues with other public-private partnerships preceded Kelly’s tenure as CEO.

Some officials in South Carolina were not even aware of who Kelly was, despite being CEO of a company soliciting for public benefits for projects.

Frequently, TSE sends Chief Operating Officer Mark Hart to brief and update elected officials about the status of negotiations on Charlotte FC and the Panthers.

In October 2020, Hart told Charlotte city councilmembers that a tether to keep the Panthers in Charlotte was no longer on the table in negotiations over MLS, Eastland and the Uptown Entertainment District.

City leaders in both Rock Hill and Charlotte did not want to be interviewed for this story but said they were surprised and shocked by the news of Kelly’s departure. Both cities have ongoing negotiations with TSE about projects worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars combined.

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