Marcus Smith on Tepper MLS stadium bid: ‘I think it would be very successful’

Updated: Sep. 24, 2019 at 3:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith, who had been working to bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte, says he believes a stadium that could support MLS would be good for the city.

“I think MLS definitely sees Charlotte as a fantastic city to have a franchise," Smith said. "The success that’s been seen in Atlanta with the United, I think could be repeated here in Charlotte with the right stadium set up. I think it would be very successful.”

Sources told WBTV that during a closed door session Monday night, members of the Charlotte City Council got an initial request from representatives of Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper to fund a new stadium.

Those presenting the pitch outlined a request for between roughly $100 million and $200 million in city funds to help build the facility, which would host a future soccer team and not also share a space with the Carolina Panthers.

“When you look at sports and the investment in sports and the community, it’s really about tourism and economic drivers that benefit our entire community," Smith added. "It’s really about tourism and economic drivers that benefit our entire community. It’s just part of the landscape out there. Think about what Charlotte would be like if we didn’t have the fantastic sports entities that we have…NASCAR, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte Hornets, Carolina Panthers are part of the fabric of what makes Charlotte great in addition to all of our citizens and the great businesses that are here.”

Smith had been working towards winning a MLS franchise with plans to play at the renovated Memorial Stadium site.

Smith says he is not part of any current bid to land a team, but says such efforts would be successful.

“To me that’s a great investment for our community, no different than light rail and great streets and sidewalks," Smith added.

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