If he hasn’t already, hedge fund titan turn Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper should give Arthur Blank a call ahead of his second season owning the NFL franchise.
With Blank’s successful ownership track record — after many years in the financial scene as co-founder of Home Depot — Tepper could learn a thing or two.
Blank purchased the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 for $545 million. Since then, Blank has led the Falcons to nine seasons with winning records and one Super Bowl appearance. The Falcons have been to the playoffs eight times during that span.
The team has generally had successful drafts under Blank’s leadership, with franchise players such as QB Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones being the top names selected.
In 2017, Blank’s $1.6 billion new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened up to much fanfare around its interior and exterior design. The stadium plays host to this year’s Super Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Saints.
Forbes calculates the Atlanta Falcons to be worth about $2.5 billion.
By all accounts, Blank has proven to be a very successful owner in large part due to his ability to build good teams and listen to the football experts around him.
“As an owner, you have the power but not the knowledge,” Blank told Yahoo Finance. Blank acknowledged that identifying your strengths and weaknesses as an owner is vital to winning. “You hire the very best coaching staff and general manager and you really be their cheerleader and get out of their way and let them do their thing. I don’t dictate their decisions, I just listen and understand the logic behind their decisions.”
The verdict is out on whether the self-confident Tepper, a long-time football fan and one-time partial owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, could bring the success at his hedge fund Appaloosa Management to the Carolina Panthers.
Seeing as Tepper bought the Panthers for an astounding $2.3 billion in July 2018, building a winning culture along the lines of what Blank has done in Atlanta will be crucial in earning a similarly strong return on his investment.
Just like picking a winning stock, there is more to it than just studying the financial statements. Tepper will likely learn this along the way, if he hasn’t done so yet.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi