Panthers say financial reports present “incomplete picture”

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On Thursday, Deadspin published leaked financial documents from the Panthers, reflecting a two-year profit of $112 million.

The Panthers have responded.

“The Deadspin story presents an incomplete picture of the Carolina Panthers profitability,” the team said in a statement issued to PFT.  “The figures offer an isolated snapshot of the team’s financial situation during an unusual time as the NFL lockout loomed.

“At the time, the team had strategically reduced its spending because of the uncertainty and as part of a long-term plan to secure the team’s best talent once a collective bargaining agreement had been reached.  The team’s actual operating cash flow, even before federal and state tax payments were made, was significantly less than the accounting income reported in the story.

“The most meaningful reflection of a company’s profitability is cash flow, and the team’s operating cash flow fluctuated between pre-tax figures of $26.7M in fiscal year 2011 and $39.8M in fiscal year 2012. A detailed review of the financial statements demonstrates the difficulty of being competitive in the NFL, paying players to the cap, and trying to add the financing of a major stadium renovation.”

Every word of the team’s response is likely entirely accurate, but it won’t matter to the average fan.  While meaningless to the relationship between the league and the players, since the NFLPA realizes that the teams turn a healthy profit, the numbers reinforce the perception that NFL teams are making more than enough money to pay for their own stadiums without public assistance.

And that’s bad news for the Panthers, Falcons, and Dolphins, each of which are trying to get public money for renovations or new venues without the leverage that comes from a threat to move.

42 responses to “Panthers say financial reports present “incomplete picture”

  1. The truth of the matter is the middle class is being systematically destroyed in this country and the numbers don’t lie. Inflation continues to skyrocket and wages continue to stagnate; get your popcorn ready because a storm is brewing in this country and only an idiot doesn’t see it coming.

  2. Everyone knows Cash Flow is not a way to see a businesses solvency.
    Cash Flow is very easily manipulated.

    Showing Total Assets vs Equity with Cash Flow can give you a much better picture.

    Which I am sure a Team that owes it’s own stadium has.

  3. Sure, no greedy bastard wants to admit his greed. A simple explanation will work but I sure Jerry Richardson will only tell more lies.

  4. in fairness to the panthers, their teams in the years mentioned were pretty terrible, so their statement regarding the pre-lockout numbers is probably fairly accurate.

    that doesn’t change the fact that teams are fleecing cities and taxpayers when it comes to new stadiums.

  5. Every word of the team’s response is likely entirely accurate, but it won’t matter to the average fan.

    Well put Florio. You’re 100% right. Sadly, we live in an era of headline readers. No one stops to do their own homework. It doesn’t help that the deadspin piece was complete slop journalism as the author clearly was not familiar with financial statements.

  6. As a panthers fan, id rather have new unis over a new stadium. There is nothing wrong with the stadium we have now. We have had the same uniforms since we came into the league.

  7. I love the irony here. If you recall Mr. Richardson was the very owner
    who was quite ignorant/ aggressive during a meeting of NFL players and owners. If we recall prior to the expiration of the last CBA a meeting between some owners and players such as Drew Bree’s and other player leaders occurred around the Super Bowl. At that time Mr.
    Richardson shocked the players and some owners as well with his behavior. Apparently Mr . Richardson questioned the players on their ability to read financial statements and profit / loss statements. If I recall some owners were so embarrassed by his behavior that after a recess they apologized to the players involved.
    Mr. Richardson who retired after two years as a player because his team low balled him didn’t learn a lesson. He then lied and attempted to bully the Nflpa when they asked the Owners to open their books.
    Typical owner …..he cried poor ….when he had a city buy him a stadium…then sold licensing agreements for seats that paid him more than the cost of the franchise !
    The most successful franchise project of all time. This is why Goodell is the commissioner .
    Lies …lies …all he does is cry poor !!

  8. But lets also say the Every NFL Team in every state should pay for everything No Tax Breaks & yea The Vikes & Chargers as well & yea lets not for get the New Jets/Giants building If it has Tax money in it they should refund the city & tax payers

    Smart Fans wouldn’t pay no mind to stuff from sites like Dead spin & Bleacher report

  9. How is it impermissible for the Panthers to take money from me to aid their business but okay for the state to use its police powers to force me to take part in this venture? The Panthers, like the Yankees and many other teams, like to socialize the costs and risk but privatize the profits. One question: If this is such a great idea, why are the banks falling over each other to get in on it?

  10. It is funny reading the comments from the NFL teams and its owners when they cry broke all the time. Cleveland sold for $1.2 billion but we are to believe they make like $30 to $40 million before taxes each year? Accounting is very tricky in how some expenses are accounted for on a P&L statement. There is no way that any NFL team would be worth $1 billion+ unless it has a significant income stream. The owners can say the team makes no money if they want to. The owner pays himself a salary of $25 million, deducts the private jet off the team as a “business expense”, the team pays for the debt load that was used to acquire the team, family members are on the teams payroll that have big titles but little responsibility, we can keep going but it does not take a genius to figure it out.

    No smart business man buys any business that can’t pay for itself nor make a profit. These guys are rich because of good business moves not because of dumb moves. We have seen enough turnover of teams in the past few years to see how many rich guys want into NFL ownership.

    There is a reason why no team is in LA. Until every team, that wants to hold a city hostage with the threat of a move, gets its new palace paid for by the taxpayers, the threat of moving will stay.

  11. Maverick2560
    Mar 7, 2013 10:16 PM
    “i love the irony here. If you recall Mr. Richardson was the very owner
    who was quite ignorant/ aggressive during a meeting of NFL players and owners. If we recall prior to the expiration of the last CBA a meeting between some owners and players such as Drew Bree’s and other player leaders occurred around the Super Bowl…”

    Hmmmm well as a native Charlottean i can tell u that ‘ignorant’ is probably not the word for one of the most successful businessmen in the SE. Especially since he pioneered the new CBA , regardless of what u think of it. We can all gripe and namecall and shake our fists at owners like this but as long as we keep buying the product, we relenquish any power we might’ve had.

  12. I’m a Panthers fan in NC (so these would be my tax dollars spent on stadium renovations) and I actually believe the Panthers organization on this one. The Deadspin report has hardly poisoned the well…Those who don’t want tax dollars spent on the renovation still won’t, and likewise for those who do. I happen to fall into the latter camp at the moment.

  13. If they want to say cash flow tells a different story, then by all means release your cash flow statements. That’s how analysts predict earnings growth and how investment bankers value companies (discounted cash flow). I for one would love to see this information as it would finally shed light on what these teams are actually worth. Of course, I’d also love the salary information too for all staff (besides players). Paying your marketing team that includes your family huge bonuses doesn’t make your team unprofitable; it makes you a scam artist.

  14. Spin spin spin….And the idiot people are still paying for these guys stadiums all over the country in all sports…. If these stadiums are going to keep getting funded by the public, the teams books should be open to the public as well……. And let’s not forget – THE NFL IS LABLED AS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION… Of course for Tax purposes… I LOVE THE USA

  15. These statements are audited. Prepared to give an accurate portrayal of the financial condition of a company. If they don’t do that, then the auditors should be sued. Of course, Richardson doesn’t reveal the depreciation of equipment (which due to a quirk in the tax code is players in this case) or the appreciation of the asset. In 20 years of ownership the value of the franchise has appreciated in value from $200mm to around $1bb. Cash flow as a measurement is nonsense.

  16. If a bank or a hotel wants to move into a city, they don’t demand that the city/ county/ state pay for their high-rise or skyscraper. They have hundreds or thousands coming to work everyday spending money during breakfast, lunch, happy hour, etc. An NFL stadium is in use one day per week, most of whom spend money IN the stadium and not as much in surrounding areas.

  17. I can’t believe these greedy owners & companies are tying to earn a profit. It’s not like they risked their own money and put up billions of dollars to own a team. The average person would never try to turn a profit on a small business, try to earn as much as they could or profit on a home that we purchased. These owners should get their butts kicked for trying to earn money and give us a product we all love.

  18. Typical owner …..he cried poor ….when he had a city buy him a stadium…then sold licensing agreements for seats that paid him more than the cost of the franchise !”

    —————————————————-

    The city donated the land, but didn’t pay for the stadium. That’s why it’s owned by the Panthers.

  19. Why is everyone so mad? It’s America. I want one of these owners to say “hell yeah i made a ton of money, I own an nfl team. I didn’t buy them for fun, I bought them to make money” We’re all jealous.

  20. A little ironic that the counter-argument is that the leaked financials are “an incomplete picture”…says the folks who are in a position to provide the full picture, but elect not to.

    The only conclusion one can draw is that the full picture would paint these guys as liars.

  21. you just gotta love these corporate welfare people. always looking for some of that re-distribution of wealth (from the bottom up). yes. give me taxpayer money so i can have my new stadium built to host games that most taxpayers can’t afford to go to.

  22. “The most meaningful reflection of a company’s profitability is cash flow, and the team’s operating cash flow fluctuated between pre-tax figures of $26.7M in fiscal year 2011 and $39.8M in fiscal year 2012”

    Yeah, that’s still almost 67 million in income over 2 years. It might not be $112 mill, but its still a hefty income!

  23. mcjon22 says:

    The Panthers made $112 mil in 2 years and they completely suck. Just imagine what the good teams are making
    ===================================

    The Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, bring in about 270 million a year. When they get back to winning championships again, most likely next season under the tutelage of Jerry Jones and the leadership of of Jason Garrett, the profits will raise to probably half a billion per season.

  24. The players and owners have their hands in the profits but no one wants to pay the bills. When it’s time for a new stadium, the billionaire owner and millionaire players have their hands in the citizens’ pockets.

    The attitude is that the NFL team brings in lots of income to a city but I would have to challenge that notion and would like to see proof. Cities and residents are pushing back on the idea that they need to pay more taxes to keep an NFL team.

  25. I’m taking “strategically reduced its spending because of the uncertainty and as part of a long-term plan to secure the team’s best talent once a collective bargaining agreement had been reached” to mean “collude with our cohorts in order to hose the players and eventually sue the Redskins and Cowboys out of $46 million?”

    Prima facie evidence of antitrust violation as far as I’m concerned

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