December 17 – Major League Soccer is set to announce Charlotte as the league’s 30th franchise for a record fee of $325 million.
The MLS’ expansion push has been fast though speaking at the Miami Soccerex convention commissioner Don Garber said he expected the league to stick at 30 clubs for the moment. The Charlotte announcement is imminent, according to various media reports. Last week the Charlotte’s city council pledged $110 million as a deposit to ensure other cities couldn’t leapfrog them to the franchise.
Leading the franchsie investment is David Tepper, the principle owner of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League since 2018 when he took over the team from embattled owner Jerry Richardson. Back then he said that he wanted to bring professional soccer to the city. However, at $325 million Tepper is spending far more than the $200 million required for the 28th and 29th expansion franchises.
Next season MLS will begin play with 26 teams as Inter Miami CF and Nashville joining the fray. In 2021, Austin FC will become the league’s 27th franchise and in 2022 St. Louis and Sacramento will further swell the numbers.
Once the franchise is awarded Charlotte expects to play within the next two years at Bank of America Stadium, the home of Tepper’s NFL franchise.
Contact the writer if this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1594484883labto1594484883ofdlr1594484883owedi1594484883sni@o1594484883fni1594484883