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Will major league soccer ever come to North Carolina?

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Posted

There have been a few brief efforts in attracting major league soccer to NC. Winston-Salem had a plan for a downtown soccer stadium and the Triangle was hoping to land a major league team to a soccer complex near Cary outside of Raleigh. Both those efforts have died but there is talk of possibly building a major league soccer stadium between Greensboro and Winston-Salem in "The Heart of the Triad" development. As of today thats only on the development's wish list with no concrete plans are in place. There have been two efforts in attracttin a major league sports stadium between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The first was in the 1960s with a sports complex that would have included an NFL stadium and a NASCAR track. There are even renderings of the stadium and track. Guilford and Forsyth County residents in a poll surprisingly voted in favor of taxes to pay for the complex but some local leaders didnt see it that way so that plan was squashed. In 1998 there was a plan to build a major league ballpark between the two cities and that plan failed when voters rejected a prepared food tax to pay for the stadium. The ballpark would have been built on the Guilford/Forsyth County line and would have included a Six Flags theme park on the Guilford side. Now maybe the third time is the charm.

The two largest CMSA's in the United States without a major league sports franchise are

1) [Hampton Roads] Norfolk--Virginia Beach--Newport News, VA--NC MSA ( 1.6 million)

2) [Piedmont Triad] Greensboro--Winston-Salem--High Point, NC MSA (1.4 million)

The Triad has one of the fastest growing hispanic populations in the country which is a segment of the population that loves soccer or "futbol"

Major League Soccer is growing is steadily growing in popularity. Will the Piedmont Triad land a major league soccer team? and if so when would it likely happen?

BTW the Triad did at one time have a major league team which was the ABA Carolina Cougars. The team was based in Greensboro but home games were played in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. The ABA was the NBA's rival and some former ABA teams such as the Indian Pacers moved on to the NBA when the two leagues merged in the 1970s. In the late 1990s Greensboro was temporary home for the NHL Carolina Hurricanes while the RBC Center was being constructed.

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Posted

With the large latino population that NC has now, it seems we would have a bigger potential audience to draw from. I just did watch the game between DC United and the LA Galaxy and was fairly impressed at the crowds in Washington. (However, there were still empty seats.) The Triad would be a good place to situate a team as it could draw spectators from the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

The question is, are there individuals/groups in the Triad who could finance such a mammoth undertaking of establishing a major league sports team?

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Posted

With the large latino population that NC has now, it seems we would have a bigger potential audience to draw from. I just did watch the game between DC United and the LA Galaxy and was fairly impressed at the crowds in Washington. (However, there were still empty seats.) The Triad would be a good place to situate a team as it could draw spectators from the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

The question is, are there individuals/groups in the Triad who could finance such a mammoth undertaking of establishing a major league sports team?

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Posted

certainly in today's economy Its not possible at this moment. 8 to 10 years from now this could be a real possiblity in my opinion. I would love to see the third big metro in North Carolina crowned with a major league sports franchise and Soccer is very popular in the Triad even at the minor league level. But you asked the key question. Who would be the individuals/groups that would step up to the plate? As far as big companies getting involved, we could see Dell, FedEx or HondaJet seek naming rights for soccer stadium. Local banks such as Winston-Salem based BB&T and maybe even Greensboro based NewBridge Bank could get involved.

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Posted

Unfortunately all those companies named are facing major challenges right now; the banks from the credit meltdown, Dell from the economic downturn, and FedEx and HondaJet from spiraling fuel prices. Of course, BB&T did just sponsor the massive soccer park in Advance, just outside of Clemmons on I-40.

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Posted

You don't know how pissed I when I found out that once again, the south (and particularly North Carolina) have been overlooked with regards to MLS expansion.

I fail to understand how the state that has one of the highest percentages of youth involvement (in both rec and club teams); a strong tradition of college-level excellence (including the reigning NCAA Men's champs, let alone the Carolina women's strong tradition); a good fanbase for support of its minor-league teams (Greensboro, Charlotte), a growing minority population, many of whom come from countries where football is highly popular; and was apparently desirable enough to be picked as the training camp headquarters for the US national team leading up to the 2006 World Cup is not deemed good enough to support an MLS team.

As for the stadium issue, if there's one to be built, it can be done over time. Cary has the facilities to host a team and Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Greensboro all have the stadiums that could host a team in the meantime.

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Posted

You don't know how pissed I when I found out that once again, the south (and particularly North Carolina) have been overlooked with regards to MLS expansion.

I fail to understand how the state that has one of the highest percentages of youth involvement (in both rec and club teams); a strong tradition of college-level excellence (including the reigning NCAA Men's champs, let alone the Carolina women's strong tradition); a good fanbase for support of its minor-league teams (Greensboro, Charlotte), a growing minority population, many of whom come from countries where football is highly popular; and was apparently desirable enough to be picked as the training camp headquarters for the US national team leading up to the 2006 World Cup is not deemed good enough to support an MLS team.

As for the stadium issue, if there's one to be built, it can be done over time. Cary has the facilities to host a team and Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Greensboro all have the stadiums that could host a team in the meantime.

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Posted

Lets not forget that the NCAA Final Four Soccer Championship has been played in Greensboro. Major League Soccer is a good fit for the Triad for the reasons you mentioned plus the fact that its a franchise easier for the Triad to support because the players dont have sky high salaries like in the NBA or major league baseball. So you wouldnt need as much corporate support. But yea North Carolina is a nobrainer and particularly the Triad because there are no other competing major league sports franchises in the region.

BTW Welcome to the forum :)

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Posted

Thanks for the welcome! :)

Don't forget the Bobcats and Panthers to the south and ACC basketball in the Triad and just due east. Those will definitely pull some fans. That being said, there's no denying that football will be a very attractive proposition for this state, because of its popularity among segments of the population and young people.

The sad fact is that the south tends to get overlooked by the footballing establishment in the US. Why, I'll never know. Atlanta, Birmingham, and Athens all did a great job hosting the Olympics tournament in 1996 and Orlando was a good venue for the World Cup in 1994. However, since then? MLS has pulled teams out of the south and venues in the area rarely get looked at for hosting US matches. If/When the US gets the chance to host the World Cup again, I almost expect the south to get snubbed.

Hopefully, the head honchos over at the MLS front office will realize that they can only snub us for so long.

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Posted

Ironically there are a number of NHL teams in the south which has always been known as a more northern league.

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Posted

With the large latino population that NC has now, it seems we would have a bigger potential audience to draw from. I just did watch the game between DC United and the LA Galaxy and was fairly impressed at the crowds in Washington. (However, there were still empty seats.) The Triad would be a good place to situate a team as it could draw spectators from the Raleigh and Charlotte markets.

The question is, are there individuals/groups in the Triad who could finance such a mammoth undertaking of establishing a major league sports team?

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Posted

So you should root for good overseas talent to continue their migration to the states

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Posted

Send some NHL front office thinktank people over to the MLS.

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I am not going to dog the south here, but it is being "snubbed" because it is in fact the weakest market for professional soccer in the US right now. Untill last year it can be said that the pacific North West has been snubbed as well. this little fact should tell you that this fledgling league is pretty small still and has not yet expanded to cover the entire nation yet.

Now that the Pac West has a team in seattle the SE might have a chance in the next 10 years.

furthermore, it has nothing to do really with anything other than a strong ownership group stepping up to the plate with a plan. Add in vocal local support and you get a team.

If you really want a team organize the local support, attend local lower division games, make some noise, and the investor will materialize I assure you. Look at The Sons of Ben from Philly. This group pretty much made the decision for MLS and its investors.

Another thing, is Hartford-Springfield a CSA? because we have something like 2.2 Million people and no pro team. Not that we are a fit for soccer, but was just wondering.

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Posted

Another thing, is Hartford-Springfield a CSA? because we have something like 2.2 Million people and no pro team. Not that we are a fit for soccer, but was just wondering.

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