The timeline was curious, even if it was entirely coincidental.
On Monday, the Supreme Court opened the door for nationwide sports betting. Immediately, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proclaimed that the value of each franchise in the four major sports leagues would double. Within a day, David Tepper put pen to paper on a purchase agreement that will result in payment of $2.275 billion for the Carolina Panthers.
Yes, only $2.275 billion. A full $225 million short of one prominent estimate of $2.5 billion.
On one hand, maybe someone else would have shown up and offered considerably more, now that sports gambling can happen in the 49 states other than Nevada. On the other hand, maybe the purchase price already reflected the likelihood that, one way or the other, gambling was coming.
Ultimately, and as we explained in December when dismissing the speculation about what the price will be, every asset is worth whatever someone will pay for it. When it comes to NFL teams, there’s an asterisk arising from the reality that the rest of the club will have to be willing to welcome the new owner in.
Regardless, it feels like Tepper got a steal, especially if gambling generates the kind of revenue that will drive up the value of all NFL teams. And if Tepper is purchasing all of it himself, he possibly will be able to eventual sell half the equity, make all or most of the purchase price back, and continue to control the franchise.