CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brian France, the head of NASCAR, is part of a group that wants to buy the Carolina Panthers with France becoming the new major holder, multiple sources confirmed to NBC Charlotte.
Current owner Jerry Richardson says he will sell the team at the end of the season. This after it was revealed that Richardson reached settlements with four employees over allegations of sexual and racial misconduct.
NBC Charlotte learned in late December a group was being formed to purchase the team, but this is the first big name attached to it.
Brian France and the France family built the NASCAR dynasty that began with early races on the sand at Daytona Beach. It grew to become a string of super tracks spread across the country.
France follows in the footsteps of his father Bill France and is said to be a millionaire many times over.
Late last month, NBC Charlotte reported the Felix Sabates, a minority owner of the Hornets, was putting a group together that hoped to buy the Panthers and keep them in Charlotte in a new domed stadium.
At the time, Sabates said the stadium had to have a roof to attract a Super Bowl.
“From a financial point of view, we have to generate revenue,” Sabates said.
Sabates Wednesday would not comment on France being part of the group. However, three sources, all in positions to know, confirmed to NBC Charlotte that France was part of the group and would be the majority owner if the deal goes through. NBC Charlotte agreed not to name the sources because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
NASCAR attendance and TV ratings have been declining. It is not known if that played a part in France’s interest to acquire the Panthers or if he plans to sell his stake in NASCAR to finance the deal.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for NASCAR denied NBC Charlotte's report. On Wednesday night, France sent out a tweet, also denying the move.
Jerry Richardson has said the team will be for sale after the last game of this season, which could come as early as this Sunday night if the Panthers lose to New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs.
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