The Carolina Panthers will receive $120 million in tax breaks if they move their facility to South Carolina, after the state’s Senate approved a bill Thursday by a 27-15 vote.
Under the bill, which Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to sign, the Panthers would be exempt from paying state income taxes for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years, assuming that money is used toward a new complex in South Carolina.
Currently based in Charlotte, N.C., the team has been planning a 200-acre development in Rock Hill, S.C., about 25 miles south of its current facilities next to Bank of America Stadium. The development plans include expansive football facilities as part of a broader campus with hotels, shopping and restaurants.
The bill was supported by McMaster, but many senators pushed back against the idea of giving public funds to a team owned by David Tepper, whose net worth is estimated at $11.6 billion.
“We’d like to be there. Hopefully they help us out there,” Tepper told reporters Wednesday of the potential facility in Rock Hill. “But I could be with a (practice) bubble and a cafeteria in Charlotte, too. So it’s up to them.”
Now the path appears clear for the Panthers to proceed with the planned move, which is not expected until at least 2022. The team will continue to play games at Bank of America Stadium, its home since its second season in 1996.
Tepper also told reporters Wednesday he hopes to bring a Major League Soccer team to the area eventually, potentially housing it on the same campus in Rock Hill.