CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte is staking its claim as a soccer city after an historic deal to host the International Champions Cup in the Queen City for the next five years.
On Tuesday, Relevent Sports Group (RSG) announced a deal with Bank of America Stadium to bring the International Champions Cup (ICC) to Charlotte for the next five years.
It marks the first long-term deal between RSG and a host city, highlighting Charlotte’s commitment to bringing major soccer events to the Queen City.
Charlotte will also host the 2019 House of Soccer, a premium, high-level entertainment event that brings together the community, athletes, clubs, artists and influencers to highlight soccer culture.
Bank of America Stadium will host its fifth ICC match this summer when Arsenal takes on ACF Fiorentina on July 20. This year’s match marks the first of the new five-year deal.
Charlotte will be the only city this summer to host House of Soccer. The event will be held July 19- 20 at Romare Bearden Park and S. Mint Street.
“Today’s announcement is a big deal for our community and puts Charlotte at the epicenter of soccer’s rapid growth in the United States,” said Carolina Panthers President Tom Glick. “Charlotte’s reputation as a soccer city is driven by the passion of our fans, who continue to display their commitment to the game by attending matches and playing soccer at all ages, and the growing drumbeat of fans calling for a top-level domestic team.”
Glick says that he will join David Tepper in New York this week to meet with MLS officials about a possible MLS expansion team in Charlotte. Glick helped launch the MLS team New York City FC in February 2015, and served as its president for a year. Major League Soccer has been a constant topic in conversations with Tepper since his opening press conference as the new owner of the Carolina Panthers.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Bank of America Stadium on this long-term deal at a time when Charlotte has established itself as a premiere soccer city,” said RSG CEO Daniel Sillman. “Whether it’s the loyal soccer fanbase, the business community, philanthropic organizations, or city government, all stakeholders have spoken loud and clear that Charlotte is a city that wants to host major soccer events.”
House of Soccer will offer unique access to clubs, players, live entertainment, soccer fanatics and freestylers for fans to interact with the sport on multiple levels.
This year’s event will be bring all things soccer to Charlotte with live music, skill zones, food trucks, a Bud Light beer garden, gaming stations and an open invitation for fans to show their soccer chops on the pitch alongside some of the sport’s greatest local influencers.
Emceed by comedians and podcasters the “Soccer Cooligans,” House of Soccer will also feature a live performance by singer/songwriter Walker Hayes and a fan prep zone where soccer lovers can get game-ready with face paint, temporary tattoos, hair-braiding and more.
ICC partners Bud Light and LaLiga will be hosting additional activations at the House of Soccer ahead of the July 20 match.
On Saturday, July 20, fans can join together for a supporters’ march into Bank of America stadium to catch Arsenal vs. ACF Fiorentina live in the Queen City.
In June, WBTV spoke with a leader of the Mint City Collective, a group of soccer fans who are focused on to creating awareness and a buzz around bringing MLS to Charlotte.
“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,” Mint City Collective member Jay Landskroener said.