"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Scott Dempsey.
Several of the world's 3 1/2 billion soccer fans sit on the WBTV Editorial Board, and most of the members believe Charlotte would be a good fit for the "beautiful game", should an MLS expansion team be awarded here.
But we have major concerns over both the financial arrangements proposed by Marcus Smith and the NASCAR-like pace at which the negotiations are taking place.
Under the deal, Mecklenburg County would invest nearly $120 million upfront toward the eventual new stadium in Elizabeth and be responsible for tearing down Memorial Stadium.
The county would be paid back $75 million over 25 years. But key details, such as future county spending are unknown and that an economic impact study has yet to be taken raises another red flag.
Charlotte City Council declined to even vote on joining the county in the venture.
Considering the extensive vetting that took place prior to tax-payer money being contributed to the Panthers and Knights' stadium deals, this feels very rushed.
With lingering questions about HB2 and lower-than-expected attendance at the government-funded Whitewater Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame, we think the brakes should be tapped on the MLS deal.