CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A big step was taken on Friday toward bringing professional soccer to Charlotte.
Ally Financial announced Friday afternoon that they had reached an agreement with the Charlotte Soccer Bid Team, led by Panthers owner David Tepper, to serve as the founding and lead partner of a potential MLS team in Charlotte and the Carolinas.
The agreement comes as more and more momentum continues to grow behind Tepper’s pursuit of a Charlotte-based squad. Ally announced the partnership in a video posted online along with the trending hashtag #CLTWantsSoccer.
“This new partnership signals an exciting time for both Ally and the Charlotte region,” said Jeffrey Brown, chief executive officer, Ally. "We’re humbled to be the first partner alongside David Tepper in his quest, and in addition to expanding our presence in the market, we’re excited about the positive economic impact an MLS team will have in the region.”
Tepper has previously stated that a professional team coming to the city could play in Bank of American Stadium with a reconfigured layout for those matches.
WBTV asked Charlotte City Council members what they thought about the prospect of a MLS team coming to the city.
“I absolutely think there’s a market for it. The gold cup matches, the ICC matches…the success of those demonstrates that there is an audience for soccer," said Larken Egleston.
Tariq Bokhari agreed mentioning how it could be a boost to Charlotte’s economy year round.
“The thing a lot of us have been looking for is how can we activate the business around the stadium more that give or take a dozen times a year," Bokhari said.
Charlotte’s city council discussed the possibility of a MLS team in Charlotte several years ago during a previous expansion, but the pitch never materialized.
There hasn’t been an official bid yet and no word on if city council will have to get involved, but if they do both city council men said their decision will be based off what’s best for the city.
“As an elected official I’m kind of sitting back and waiting to see what is the ask and at what cost and figuring it out if we can make it work,” Bokhari said.