Spartanburg leaders trying to hold onto Panthers training camp

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As long as the Panthers have been in business, they’ve gone away to training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.

That made sense, as the small private school was the alma mater of owner Jerry Richardson.

But now that David Tepper has bought the team and pledged to build a new training facility, the college and the city are worried that their days of a tourism bump could be coming to an end. The Panthers have a contract to hold camp there through 2019.

“I can assure you that we’re going to make a full court press to try and keep the Panthers right here in Spartanburg,” mayor Junie White said, via Adam Orr of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. “It’d be a tremendous impact on Spartanburg if we lose that camp.”

Spartanburg County councilman David Britt said talks were ongoing: “Can’t talk about what’s happening behind the scenes, but there is action and it’s being worked on.”

The trend in the NFL in recent years has been for teams to train at their own facilities, and Richardson’s link to the school clearly kept the Panthers moving 85 miles away to get ready for the season.

But the local speculation is that Tepper will look for land near the state line for his new training facility, which would continue the team’s commitment to both North Carolina and South Carolina.

10 responses to “Spartanburg leaders trying to hold onto Panthers training camp

  1. Makes sense to cut ties to Wofford since they no longer have anything to do with the Panthers. It’s just amazing that teams continue this outdated tradition of playing at a college when they are by far the richest sports league in the world. They don’t have first class training facilities like other sports. Heck, even many of the MLS (soccer) teams have very nice training centers with gyms, rooms, pools, spas, etc. Instead the NFL continues to make cities and colleges pay teams for the privilege of hosting the NFL teams.

  2. This is my home county, and it does have an impact on the local economy. That said, I don’t see much chance of Spartanburg getting a new contract longer than it takes to build the new training facility.

    The Spartanburg connection with the Panthers is gone, and there’s no reason for the team to continue training there once a new facility is constructed.

  3. @Grandafan the Panthers have attracted nearly 100,000 people to training camp the past few years. Over a 3 week period that’s 30,000 people per week. Spartanburgs’s population is only 37,000. On any given day the Panthers are doubling the population of the town, these people are eating, shopping, and many staying the night. I’d say the college and the town want to keep paying (if they even do considering Richardson’s link and indoor stadium) to host the Panthers.

  4. Ultimately, it’s a moot point. Tepper is building a new practice facility, and it won’t be in Spartanburg. But I don’t blame Spartanburg for holding on as long as they can.

  5. The Panthers have moved on from JR and they will move away from Wofford soon. Nothing lasts forever and the cash cow for Spartanburg is moving on. All aboard.

  6. Wofford provides better training camp facilities to the Panthers than almost every NFL team has. This is of course due to Jerry Richardson giving tons of cash to Wofford to build these facilities. One thing they can get by training at Wofford, which is a one hour drive from Charlotte (not 85 miles), is having all of the players away from home and the distractions that come from that. I would bet that the coaches prefer having the team in one location for camp.

  7. Training camp will stay put for the foreseeable future……. the planning it takes on building a new training facility and where and when???
    How many years out before done and completed??? Several.

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