CHARLOTTE, NC—Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson shocked the sports world last weekend when he announced that he will be selling the franchise after this season in the wake of alleged sexual and racist misconduct.
Now the city’s biggest sports team will be married to its largest evangelical church, as Charlotte-based Elevation Church has agreed to buy the Panthers for $2.3 billion in cash, the NFL announced Thursday.
“We’re excited to have an expert entertainment group like Elevation Church as part of NFL ownership,” a league spokesperson told reporters. “Just like their church members, our fans crave flash and glimmer, and Elevation excels at showmanship.”
Elevation Church lead pastor Steven Furtick says 2018 will be the Panthers’ most financially successful season yet, claiming to have all sorts of gimmicks lined up to bring fans to Bank of America Stadium, including shooting attendees with high-powered water guns, firing T-shirt cannons into the crowds, and preaching inspirational messages about how great all the fans are in elaborately produced halftime shows.