May 4, 2022 - News

Another exec is leaving Tepper Sports and Entertainment

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Three months and three days: That’s how long Nick Kelly served as Tepper Sports and Entertainment CEO.

Driving the news: Kelly chose to step down, per a Wednesday statement from TSE.

  • The news comes one week after I asked TSE owner David Tepper during his media availability how Kelly was adapting to his new role in the organization.
  • “I think he’s done a really good job in that role,” Tepper said. “Listen, there’s always a little bit of getting used to something, but I think he’s made a fast adaption.”

Why it matters: There’s been a flood of  exits and promotions within TSE. But that’s the nature of the business: Move up or move on.

  • The intrigue: When you replace your team president with the president of your soccer franchise and he leaves so rapidly, something feels off on Mint Street.

State of play:

  • Tom Glick, TSE president, who joined the organization in 2018 as Panthers team president stepped down when Kelly was promoted to “pursue other opportunities” per a team statement.
  • Joe LaBue was promoted in February to Charlotte FC president after 11 years with the Panthers, where he most recently served as vice president of ticket sales and services. 
  • Kristi Coleman was named Panthers president in February after serving as chief financial officer.
  • Darrius Barnes was promoted within Charlotte FC from director of business operations to president of their MLS NEXT Pro team, set to debut in 2023.
  • Marc Nicholls left Charlotte FC, TSE’s MLS franchise, in January, and was replaced by Bobby Belair, who was promoted from director of player personnel.
  • Charlotte FC director of marketing and communications Jessica O’Neill left in March to become the inaugural team president for the Houston Dash in NWSL .
  • Nicole Tepper, wife of owner David Tepper, was named TSE’s chief administrative officer and will be responsible for “further engrain[ing] the organization in the Carolinas community,” the statement said. 

What they’re saying: “I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Tepper, as well as the entire Tepper Sports & Entertainment organization, for giving me the opportunity to build a club, culture, and fanbase from the ground up at Charlotte FC,” Kelly said in a statement. “It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and for that, I will be forever grateful and a fan.”

  • “Nick played an integral role in laying the groundwork for Charlotte FC’s inaugural season, and was a key contributor to Tepper Sports & Entertainment,” owner David Tepper said in a statement. “We appreciate his efforts and wish him and his family the best as they move forward.”
  • Kelly and TSE declined to comment further.

Flashback: Kelly joined the organization from Anheuser-Busch InBev — where he served as a marketing executive — in December 2020, and started as Charlotte FC president on Feb. 1, 2021.

What’s next: Kelly will be involved in the transition, per TSE, who also said they will “evaluate how best to move forward with filling the role.”

Zoom out: TSE continues to make headlines, from terminating its contract with Rock Hill for the team’s new $800 million headquarters and practice facility to the NFL draft last weekend.

The bottom line: Fans have one question: “What is going on with TSE?”

Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly. Photo: courtesy Charlotte FC
Nick Kelly. Photo courtesy Charlotte FC

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