CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Speculation continues to mount about the possibility of Major League Soccer bringing a franchise to Charlotte.
In April, MLS said it wants to expand to 30 clubs in the United States. Right now there are 24.
The league said it’s bringing in Nashville, Miami and Austin teams, so there’s 27.
Sacramento and St Louis are favorites for 28 and 29. And then that leaves one, who will be number 30?
According to a new Sports Illustrated article, Carolina Panthers Owner David Tepper has been working with team president Tom Glick in the effort to bring MLS to Charlotte. Glick helped launch the MLS team New York City FC in February 2015, and served as its president for a year.
The Sports Illustrated article says that Tepper could possibly be meeting with MLS officials in July.
Major League Soccer has been a constant topic in conversations with David Tepper since his opening press conference as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers hosted two focus group sessions in February.
That forum gave participants the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on a potential MLS team playing at Bank of America stadium, as well as potential seating options that could be available for MLS matches.
The Panthers have launched several exploratory projects regarding a possible MLS expansion. The team held a meeting in Charlotte in March to gauge public interest in a team, and sent a survey to season ticket holders about a potential team name.
The survey also suggested that Bank of America Stadium could feature “a more intimate soccer configuration to create an exciting game-day atmosphere for MLS home matches.”
A stadium plan, along with other criteria such as corporate sponsorship commitments, is a requirement the MLS has for all bidding groups.
Tepper has also discussed the renovated stadium as the home field of a Charlotte MLS team.
Just last week, a new group called Mint City Collective was announced to rally up more support. In the video with this article, we spoke with one of the group’s leaders, Jay Landskroener, to talk about the possibility of MLS coming to Charlotte.
The Mint City Collective is a group of soccer fans who want to create awareness and a buzz around bringing MLS to Charlotte. Landskroener says the name comes from Charlotte being one of the first cities to mint a coin in the United States.
He says the organization wants to remember that history of Charlotte, recognize the present and look forward to the future.
“I think soccer has a way, unlike a lot of different sports, to bring many different cultures together. We want to bring as many people from within different communities that support the sport together. We want them to have a team of their own, a team from Charlotte that’s here,” Landskroener said.
“A lot of people that live here aren’t from here. They may have sports teams in baseball or football, but they may not have a soccer allegiance, specifically in Major League Soccer. We would like to bridge that gap and bring everybody together in that way,” Landskroener said.