Fanatics owner and internet entrepreneur Michael Rubin is very interested in buying the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, sources told CNBC on Sunday.
The Panthers announced the team was for sale in December, after their longtime owner Jerry Richardson was accused of workplace misconduct. Rubin has not yet put a bid in for the team, but is considered to be a very serious potential bidder.
“Nobody knows the NFL more than Michael,” one source told CNBC. Rubin declined to comment to CNBC.
Rubin has grown Fanatics into a $4.5B business, as one of the largest online retailers of licensed sportswear and merchandise. At 45 years old, Rubin would be amongst the youngest owners in the NFL. He currently has a minority stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Appaloosa hedge fund founder David Tepper, a minority owner in the Pittsburgh Steelers, is also seen as a serious contender. Forbes lists Tepper’s net worth at $11B, while Rubin is worth $3 billon.
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry have all expressed interest.
Forbes values the Panthers at $2.3B. Sources say bids for the team are due soon, as NFL owners are hoping to approve a deal at their spring meeting in May in Atlanta.