MLS Expansion Talks Heating Up This Week During League Meetings
The MLS BOG will discuss "potential expansion markets, including Charlotte," during league meetings in N.Y. on Thursday, according to Harrison & Boraks of WFAE.com. Sources said that they "expect a formal announcement in Charlotte as early as Friday." MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said that any "announcement about expansion will be held in the city of the new team," though he added that there is "no timetable for awarding a new team." The Charlotte City Council has been "meeting in closed sessions to discuss taxpayer-funded improvements to Bank of America Stadium." City Council member James Mitchell said that a "large majority of council members support" giving Panthers Owner David Tepper as much as $110M in "public money to help" him land an MLS team. Mitchell added that council members also "considered spending more money on soccer, but council members wanted to make sure there would still be enough tourism dollars to renovate the Spectrum Center." Mitchell also said that a public hearing on a "tentative incentives deal could be conducted" on Dec. 9, and the council could vote on them by Dec. 16 (WFAE.com, 12/2).
RECORD FEE: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted Tepper is "expected to pay an entry fee" of $300-325M if Charlotte lands the 30th MLS team, which likely would "set a record for an MLS purchase price." The two most recent expansion teams, St. Louis and Sacramento, each paid $200M entry fees. If Tepper does get a team, Charlotte "could begin playing" as soon as '21, since Bank of America Stadium would only "need minor upgrades for soccer, including dedicated MLS locker rooms and center-cut field entry" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/2). Meanwhile, Spanberg cited a source as saying that MLS Commissioner Don Garber "will be in Chicago for meetings this Friday, meaning no announcement or appearance in Charlotte to announce the 30th team" (TWITTER.com, 12/2).