North Carolina, come on and raise up! Today, Major League Soccer announced the awarding of the league’s 30th franchise to Charlotte. The team will begin play in 2021 at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers. Panthers owner David Tepper led the bid for the MLS franchise.
Charlotte will add to the number of teams in the South, joining Nashville SC, Atlanta United, Orlando City, and Inter Miami CF. Charlotte will enter the league alongside Austin FC in 2021.
Charlotte’s bid was considered dead just 2 years ago before David Tepper became the owner of the Panthers. From there, he joined the expansion bid, proposing the team play at Bank of America Stadium, a 75,000-seat stadium in downtown Charlotte. From there, Tepper promoted an aggressive bid that propelled the city to the top of the list, and it has paid off with winning the expansion bid. Tepper will pay an expansion fee of $325 million.
“The awarding of an expansion team for Charlotte by Major League Soccer is a proud moment and significant for Charlotte and everyone in our community,” Tepper said in a statement. “I’ve made clear for a long time that I have two goals as a team owner: sustained winning on the field and making a difference in the community. These will be our goals with Charlotte’s MLS team, and the work begins today.”
Charlotte doesn’t have much time to get started, as they will kick off at the beginning of the 2021 season. It is expected that team names, crest, and colors will be announced soon, with some possible team names leaked a few days ago.
Charlotte. 2021.— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 17, 2019
You got next, @CharlotteMLS! pic.twitter.com/bSJPP0vJJX
MLS is now a league of 26 teams, with Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF joining the league for the 2020 season. Charlotte and Austin FC will join in 2021, and Sacramento Republic FC and St. Louis will complete this current round of expansion in 2022, bringing the league to 30 teams.