CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to questions about the Carolina Panthers regarding the sale of the team and the league's ongoing investigation into Jerry Richardson's workplace misconduct allegations.
During Wednesday's annual state of the NFL news conference, Goodell said he hopes the Panthers will stay in the Carolinas.
"I think all of us and the owners believe that Carolina is a great market," Goodell said. "It’s a market we would like to stay in. We hope that the franchise owner that’s eventually selected will have that view."
He said if the franchise were to relocate, three-fourths of the league owners (or at least 24 of 32 NFL owners) must vote in favor of the move.
Two teams have relocated to different cities since the conclusion of the 2015 NFL season. The Rams moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 2016 and the San Diego Chargers also moved to Los Angeles the following season. The Oakland Raiders are expected to move to Las Vegas in either 2019 or 2020.
As of Wednesday afternoon, six bidders are reportedly in the running to buy the Carolina Panthers. Among the bidders, NBC Charlotte has reported extensively on a group of potential buyers being put together by Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates.
Sabates said if his group wins, there would need to be a new domed-stadium with parking available for 20,000 cars. The most likely spot, just off Carowinds Boulevard at the state line, NBC Charlotte learned.
On Tuesday, Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles said everyone should wait until we know who the new owner will be. Lyles did, however, add that the Panthers play a key role in the local community.
“The Panthers are so important to our community that we want to do what’s right to keep them and that is what we are going to do,” Lyles told NBC Charlotte Tuesday.
As for the ongoing investigation against Richardson, Goodell said he has a lot of confidence in the league's private investigator.
“Mary Jo White who has terrific experience has been hired by us as an independent investigator has begun that process," Goodell said. "She will do her work."
Goodell added the Panthers have given the league and White full cooperation throughout the investigation process.
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