Panthers call article revealing millions in profits "incomplete" - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Panthers call article revealing millions in profits "incomplete"

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Carolina Panthers have released a statement responding to a news article revealing that the team was making millions of dollars during one of its worst seasons in recent memory.

The article, posted to Deadspin.com, reveals that during the past two seasons the Panthers made over $100 million in profit while going 2-14 in 2011 and 6-10 last season.

The money came in during a period of turmoil in the NFL as players and owners entered a lockout over who should receive more league revenue.

After the lockout, in which the players' share of league revenue fell to 47 percent from 50 percent, the Panthers brought in $33.3 million in profit, according to Deadspin.

The team brought in $95 million in local revenue in 2011 and $98 million in 2012, according to Deadspin. Revenue from the league itself was even higher, $150 million and $155 million respectively.

The profits were leaked at a time when the Panthers have requested over $200 million dollars in taxpayer funds to pay for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium.

"I understands how the way this looks and feels to the public" says Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. "But the reality is we could find ourselves at some point over the decade losing this team and that's just the reality of the world we live in."

City leaders say during negotiations with the Panthers, they were focused on making sure the team stayed in Charlotte long term.

Did they see any information about Panthers' financials?

City council member Warren Cooksey says it "was not part of any conversations I was a part of."

"No" says council member James Mitchell. "I think we made our decision on the true value the Panthers bring to our local economy so we didn't ask to see their numbers. And I'm pleased to see they're profitable. The worst thing you can do is invest in a company that's not doing well."

Charlotte City Council is trying to convince the state legislature to approve increasing the city's prepared food tax by one percent to help pay for the upgrades.

NC Gov. Pat McCrory has already said that the state has no money to give the Panthers.

Speaker of the House Thom Tillis says he doesn't think the deadspin.com report will have an impact.

"The city first and foremost has to determine whether it's in their economic best interest to try and work with the Panthers to keep them here" says Tillis. "We've made it clear the state is not prepared to put money in the stadium. We don't think it's an appropriate action for the state to take."

The franchise released a statement Thursday evening criticizing the article, saying it paints an incomplete picture of the team's profitability.

"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 $39.8 million in fiscal year 201," the team said in the statement.

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