tozmervo

MLS in Charlotte?

225 posts in this topic

Having never lived in an MLS city, but being someone who enjoys the occasional soccer match, I have been wondering if Charlotte could support an MLS team.

* The Southeast is currently a gaping void in their market coverage.

* Tampa Bay and Miami both had teams until 2001, but I don't know the details of those teams' demise.

* While the league as a whole is still struggling toward profitability, their momentum is upward.

* Along with San Francisco, Houston, NY, Chicago and LA, Charlotte is one of six American cities hosting Mexico's world cup team in an exhibition match this spring (March 24 here).

* On the other side of that coin, we didn't make the cut as a stadium for the US's 2018 or 2022 World Cup Bid.

I think it would definitely be a coup for Charlotte to scoop up a team, especially if it happened in front of the other Southeast big boys. It would give us a unique sports edge in the region. What do you think?

(fun fact - while Los Angeles still can't get an NFL franchise back, it now has two MLS teams)

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Being a huge AC Milan fan, I love to watch football (soccer). Charlotte should really try to push for another professional sporting team. The question is.. what are the average game attendance for teams around the MLS, and would Charlotte be able to get around the same?

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I really like the idea of an MLS team in Charlotte.

As already mention, the gaping Southeast coverage of teams (and the Northwest is due for two more teams in Portland and Vancouver) leads me to think this region would make sense for league expansion.

Two other points in favor (in my opinion) for CLT to get a team:

- There are only (I believe) 30 games a season (both home and way) which is something this area could support

- The lack of an MLB franchise. I know that may sound weird, but if I was the MLS I would want to go into an undeserved market with a large population that doesn't have any major league sports competition for most of the season (March through November).

I do have to admit this is just dreaming for me at this point and I don't know what is the realistic probability of a team landing here. I would add one other thought though - I hope that if this was something to happen in the future that the stadium be constructed somewhere along the BLE on the North side. I just don't think we need another stadium in Uptown.

Edited to add: I just looked up general attendance figures for MLS and it seems for 2009 the average attendance was about 17.5K (actually about 15k minus the Seattle bump) which is definitely doable for this region.

Two interesting sources:

Sports Illustrated: MLS Attendance down despite Seattle bump

Kenn.comblog: Final MLS Attendance Numbers in 2009 (This guy's footnotes section for the numbers are very interesting and worth a read in this this discussion)

Edited by Urbanity

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The first answer would be "Bank of America stadium!" but it isn't the best answer. MLS has been trying to move away from NFL stadiums towards smaller, purpose-built soccer stadiums. It wouldn't be profitable to build on Uptown, I think. The most practical options would be to look at building a 15,000 or so seat soccer stadium as part of a sports complex in Matthews or Pineville or something. The facility would include baseball fields, other soccer fields, etc. It could also be used for other soccer tournaments, maybe even high school or regional sports competitions.

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Doesn't our good friend, Jerry Reese have a proposal to convert the exisiting Charlotte Knights stadium property in Fort Mill into an MLS stadium (amongst the commercial/residential components)? I agree with Urbanity, that we don't need another uptown stadium. Something along the new NE LYNX extension would be good. I think a team may do ok, especially given that the team would have little overlap with the Panthers and Bobcats.

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What about replacing Eastland Mall with a soccer stadium? The location is very accessible to Charlatinos among others. And of course, plenty of parking.

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What about replacing Eastland Mall with a soccer stadium? The location is very accessible to Charlatinos among others. And of course, plenty of parking.

They converted the ice rink there to a soccer thing so that's really not out of the question... :shades:

It's too bad though Charlotte isn't on the 2018/2022 world cup bid anymore

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I've said before that if they could move the minor league soccer team to play at Memorial Stadium, I would be more inclined to go to a game. MLS would fall in the same category. I think an in town (not necessarily uptown) location would fare better than a suburban one (Dallas's move seems to be representative of that notion). I like the Eastland Mall idea.

But given the size of the cities that currently have soccer, Atlanta seems to be the more logical location.

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I've said before that if they could move the minor league soccer team to play at Memorial Stadium, I would be more inclined to go to a game. MLS would fall in the same category. I think an in town (not necessarily uptown) location would fare better than a suburban one (Dallas's move seems to be representative of that notion). I like the Eastland Mall idea.

I like both the Memorial stadium and the Eastland location ideas.

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I like both the Memorial stadium and the Eastland location ideas.

I am a big soccer fan but not really an MLS fan (more because of the way the league is structured/run,etc. - not so much the quality of the game). I do watch EPL (England) religiously and some La Liga (Spanish League) (Liverpool and Real Madrid are my teams, respectively). I have thought for a while that MLS or a minor league (USL). Actually I believe several of the USL First Division teams are leaving USL to form a new league (team owned league). I have been to one Charlotte Eagles game (they are a USL division 2 (lower division) team, who by the way are hosting a friendly against the New England Revolution (MLS) at UNC Charlotte on March 13. I believe they now play at the stadium at Charlotte Christian School on Sardis. Not much interest there on my part . I could, however, be tempted into supporting a higher caliber team (USL Division One or even MLS) at a better venue as long as it is relatively close to down town. I have no interest in driving to Fort Mill. Memorial Stadium would probably be best until a devoted soccer stadium could be built, although I live close enought to Eastland that I would be happy to go there if a decent stadium were built. Any devoted soccer stadium should be built ( sufficient size and qualtiy) with an eye to occasionally hosting promotional matches involving touring EPL, La Liga, and Serie A (Italian) teams in the summers. If only I had a billion dollars to spend . . .

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If Charlotte were ever to get a team, I would like to see them play at Memorial Stadium. I remember going to Carolina Lightning games there as a kid and would love to see soccer return there. Kinda disappointed that the Eagles don't already play there.

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A renovated and upfitted Memorial Stadium would be ideal and a perfect fit for an MLS team. I'm somewhat skeptical about our ability to support one since our fanbase seems to be a bit flaky. The southeast certainly needs a team soon, although the cities rumored to be on top of the MLS wish list are St. Louis, Montreal, a second NYC team, and Miami.

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Is Memorial Stadium big enough? It seems too small. I'd also be for Memorial if Park & Rec would be able to obtain a profitable lease to turn into money for more greenways. Memorial actually sits inside Independence Park. But some folks, especially Elizabeth residents, actually view the stadium with disdain as a park encroachment.

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I know the Raleigh area had been trying to secure a Major League Soccer franchise and in the 90s Winston-Salem was trying to lure a MLS expansion team. computer generated renderings were made showing a MLS stadium in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem and stadium organizers had even begun selling seats. The W-S effort eventually failed but currently leaders in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem have a major league soccer stadium in the "Heart of the Triad" concept plan. Both Greensboro and Cary have strong soccer support so much so that a Major league Soccer exhibition game will be played in Greensboro. The Triad also has the largest Latino population in the state. So it will be interesting to see where in the state a franchise will locate because its seems that Charlotte, the Triangle and Triad all would like a MLS team. Some in the Triad want to see a major league soccer team there since Raleigh and Charlotte already have pro sport teams. Major League Baseball is unlikely in the Triad so MLS is the Triad's last hope of securing a major league sports team. In general, major league soccer isnt as popular as the other major league sports. pro soccer or "futbol" "football" is popular in every country in the world except the United States. But with the economy the way it is now, we wont see a major league expansion team in NC for a very long time.

Edited by cityboi

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I really like the idea of an MLS team in Charlotte.

As already mention, the gaping Southeast coverage of teams (and the Northwest is due for two more teams in Portland and Vancouver) leads me to think this region would make sense for league expansion.

Two other points in favor (in my opinion) for CLT to get a team:

- There are only (I believe) 30 games a season (both home and way) which is something this area could support

- The lack of an MLB franchise. I know that may sound weird, but if I was the MLS I would want to go into an undeserved market with a large population that doesn't have any major league sports competition for most of the season (March through November).

I do have to admit this is just dreaming for me at this point and I don't know what is the realistic probability of a team landing here. I would add one other thought though - I hope that if this was something to happen in the future that the stadium be constructed somewhere along the BLE on the North side. I just don't think we need another stadium in Uptown.

Edited to add: I just looked up general attendance figures for MLS and it seems for 2009 the average attendance was about 17.5K (actually about 15k minus the Seattle bump) which is definitely doable for this region.

Two interesting sources:

Sports Illustrated: MLS Attendance down despite Seattle bump

Kenn.comblog: Final MLS Attendance Numbers in 2009 (This guy's footnotes section for the numbers are very interesting and worth a read in this this discussion)

I think it would be good for Charlotte to pick up and I agree with your strategy for MLS. It would be good if they tried to get teams established in cities that don't have an MLB teams.

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A spokesman for the group behind the string soccer exhibitions in the US,Soccer United Marketing, said that Charlotte has been looked at for an MLS expansion team. In his words, he said they "wouldn't turn it down" when asked about the possibility of MLS fielding a team in Charlotte. Take it for what it's worth, but goes to show the QC is on the radar.

In addition, next week's exhibition between Mexico and Iceland at BofA Stadium has already sold over 55,000 tix. Reps expect the game to near a sell out (if not sell out). Just to compare (b/c we love the Atlanta/Charlotte comparisons :)), the Georgia Dome had 53,000 for its exhibition last summer.

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^^^ I certainly think CLT would be a good home for a MLS expansion team, and honestly better than Atlanta. I don't say this so much about the CLT-ATL rivalry but because of an earlier stated point that I just think MLS would be wiser to expand in under-served markets that offer a large audience pull and yet have little Major league competition at that time of the year.

In other words - I just think MLS would get a bigger bang for their buck with CLT than with ATL though I admit I base that off of just my gut and nothing more.

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Apparently the New England Revolution bested the Charlotte Eagles 2-0 Wed. Not a drop of mention in the Observer. Was just talking to a couple of people who missed out. Apparently 4,000 people heard about it.

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Memorial Stadium could be a nice venue, but as currently fitted, it's about 20-30 meters too narrow for a professional soccer pitch. At Memorial Stadium, the corners of the field barely contain a 50 meter wide American Football field, but a professional soccer pitch should be 65-75 meters wide. I wonder if they could knock out some of the seats closest to the stadium without completely rebuilding the stands.

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In my attempts to try and better understand soccer in advance of the world cup, I learned that there is a $40 million non-negotiable price tag to apply to the MLS. It seems like if they wanted to expand the league that they would make it slightly less expensive.

At any rate, I think that if Charlotte were even remotely serious about its existing MLS division being taken seriously, we have to look at having our pro team playing at a real stadium and NOT at a freaking high school. I think that upfitting Memorial Stadium to meet the standards for soccer is the only logical direction to go. If we're only talking 30 yards, then it seems to me that part of the parking lot fronting 7th St should be sacrificed. On the other hand after a brief google search, it seems that many 50m x 100m is acceptable, albiet on the smaller side... which is perfect for Memorial stadium.

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The Charlotte Lightnin' used to play in Memorial Stadium in the early 80's. According to Wikipedia they had an average attendance of 6,000 and an attendance of 20,000 for the finals one year against New York. It has been done.

The Charlotte Eagles are more of a family environment, which is great for what it is. I would hope if there were a higher level pro soccer team in Charlotte that it could grasp a more diverse crowd. I understand that the Eagles are associated with Christian Ministries thus probably desire to keep it clean.

If I were to be compelled to go watch a game, I would most likely want to drink a few beers and not be surrounded by kids running in circles not paying attention to the game.

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On Saturday the O had a quote that the ticket sales for Mexico-Iceland are north of 65,000 now. All I know is that when I went to the box office today to get tickets, the remaining seat selection was pretty crummy. Oh well, should be fun :)

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On Saturday the O had a quote that the ticket sales for Mexico-Iceland are north of 65,000 now. All I know is that when I went to the box office today to get tickets, the remaining seat selection was pretty crummy. Oh well, should be fun :)

It most definitely will be fun. I was reading somewhere that there is supposed to be a "Futbol Fiesta" for the four hours prior to the game. There will be 100,000 sq ft of festivities including live music. Sounds like the Fiesta will be taking place along Mint Street.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/neighborhood-news/International-soccer-match-brings-big-crowd-uptown-88839772.html

I am going after work and should get uptown by around 6. I am hoping that there will be a bunch of taco trucks and some street vendors serving beer.

Edited by sharkdawg

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The MLS season kicks off on Thursday evening with the brand new Philadelphia Union traveling to Seattle to take on the Sounders. Seattle has been a major success story for MLS, with many sellouts in one of the largest MLS stadiums to date. I'd love to see that same success in Charlotte. I think for it to work, however, it can't be done by the same people who own the Charlotte Eagles. They have their own agenda, and while I love the Eagles and have attended many of their games and soccer camps, I think their agenda would be a wall in the success of an MLS team, and I doubt that MLS would even allow a religion-based team to take the field.

For a new Charlotte team, I was thinking about referencing our city's heritage. I think it would be cool to have a team based on our royal roots in Queen Charlotte, and I think having that European connection could excite the soccer community. I think FC Charlotte of Mecklenburg could be a good name, or Charlotte Barons FC for that matter. We could also reference the Revolution, maybe bringing the Charlotte Hornets name back? What do you guys think?

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The MLS season kicks off on Thursday evening with the brand new Philadelphia Union traveling to Seattle to take on the Sounders. Seattle has been a major success story for MLS, with many sellouts in one of the largest MLS stadiums to date. I'd love to see that same success in Charlotte. I think for it to work, however, it can't be done by the same people who own the Charlotte Eagles. They have their own agenda, and while I love the Eagles and have attended many of their games and soccer camps, I think their agenda would be a wall in the success of an MLS team, and I doubt that MLS would even allow a religion-based team to take the field.

For a new Charlotte team, I was thinking about referencing our city's heritage. I think it would be cool to have a team based on our royal roots in Queen Charlotte, and I think having that European connection could excite the soccer community. I think FC Charlotte of Mecklenburg could be a good name, or Charlotte Barons FC for that matter. We could also reference the Revolution, maybe bringing the Charlotte Hornets name back? What do you guys think?

We can just call the team The Charlotte Queens! LOL!

Edited by norm21499

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