Panthers-MLS talks started in 2018, email shows

Charlotte's MLS timeline in question

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Meetings between Major League Soccer and representatives for David Tepper started only a few months after the billionaire owner took over the Panthers, a new email obtained by WBTV shows. The email shows that both Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones and Mayor Vi Lyles were scheduled to be at the meeting.

The email, obtained by WBTV through a public records request, was between members of the Panthers organization and MLS but was distributed within the City of Charlotte.

The email shows there was a meeting between MLS representatives and Panthers leadership on October 23, 2018. According to the Panthers VP of Stadium Operations, who sent the email, a host of city and community leaders would be there including Panthers President Tom Glick, CRVA CEO Tom Murray, City Manager Marcus Jones and Mayor Vi Lyles.

“For your planning purposes, either the Mayor or Marcus will say a few words regarding soccer in the Carolinas and Tom Glick will welcome the group and do the same. Once these introductions are complete, they will leave the meeting,” the email says.

The email concludes with “We look forward to discussing this great event and the future of soccer in the Carolinas with you tomorrow.”

Talks between Panthers officials, Major League Soccer started in 2018, email shows

WBTV reached out to representatives for the City of Charlotte, CRVA, MLS and the Panthers but none of the organizations provided any details about the meeting or what was discussed.

WBTV first broke news about discussions between the Panthers, MLS and the city nearly a year later in September 2018 when representatives for Tepper first started talking with the city about public funding for the project.

MLS did not officially award Charlotte the 30th franchise spot until December 2019.

On Thursday there will be a rezoning meeting at Church of the Nazarene on N. Sharon Amity Lane at 6:30 regarding the rezoning petition for the old Eastland Mall site. Tepper Sports and the developer Crosland Southeast plan to build the MLS team headquarters at the property as well as other retail and housing.

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