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      WARNING!   07/26/16

      By reading or participating in the Coffee House forum, you are acknowledging that some topics may be highly controversial in nature. While we make every attempt to ensure that no one and no groups are offended as a result of discussions contained within, we unfortunately can make no guarantees. Participate in threads contained within this forum at your own risk.
tozmervo

MLS in Charlotte?

594 posts in this topic

^ For what its worth I think a team in downtown Greensboro would be able to draw from all of the Piedmont.

I say that because I am a minor league baseball fan (if the stadium is not in the burbs) and I am going to ride amtrak from Charlotte to Gboro just to see the Grasshoppers (and drink some beer). Such a trip is easy and reasonably priced from either Charlotte or Raleigh (or Durham, Cary or several other cities in between). The current train schedule forces an overnight (or red eye train to CLT) for night games but day games can be easily done in a day. I suspect we are only a couple of years away from a train schedule that would allow trips to night games and return that same night. NCDOT has also shown that it has the ability to add equipment to its trains to accommodate sporting events (they added coaches for this year's Belk bowl which featured NCSU).

I don't think a team in either Charlotte or Raleigh would have much luck drawing fans from the far end of the route.

Up in New England the Downeaster (the train which connects Portland with Boston) is PACKED with beer drinking fans for the Redsox, Bruins and Celtics.

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^ I respectfully disagree. You've got to remember that you, and us, are few and far between when in comes to our want to ride trains or even think of it as a mode of transportation. I honestly believe that by the time a train system would function to the capacity you envision in this state, Charlotte WOULD be able to support an MLS team. Plus, who owns that team? Definitely not someone from Charlotte or Raleigh. What company sponsors it? Greensboro will never get a pro team in the big 5. Not because it doesn't deserve it or doesn't have the population, ect. But simply because it is within an hour of two larger metro areas and will always be the third wheel in NC.

Edited by ah59396

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There was some MLS vs. MLB discussion in the Knights thread followed by a request to keep the Knights thread about the Knights, so I wanted to followup on that discussion here. BOA Stadium is probably too big of a venue for MLS and definitely too big for an NALS club. Memorial Stadium is more appropriately sized but currently in pretty rough shape and it could really use a wider field for soccer. A wider field would also be more appropriate for sports like rugby and lacrosse, and obviously wouldn't preclude American football from also being played there.

Anyway, so I was curious if the city was considering some work to Memorial Stadium so I did a little research and found that they are considering stadium improvements. It's a nice central location, even if the existing stadium itself is kind of dumpy. The streetcar would probably provide service to Memorial stadium, if it's ever built.

There are three options being considered:

Option 1: Minor repairs to existing stadium, $3-4 million, approximately 3 year lifespan

Option 2: Reconstruction of existing stadium, $22-25 million, approximately 50 year lifespan

Option 3: New stadium, $30+ million, approximately 50 year lifespan.

More detail at the following link:

http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ParkandRec/Facilities/EventFacilities/Pages/Memorial%20Stadium.aspx

Edited by RugbyPike#11

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There was some MLS vs. MLB discussion in the Knights thread followed by a request to keep the Knights thread about the Knights, so I wanted to followup on that discussion here. BOA Stadium is probably too big of a venue for MLS and definitely too big for an NALS club. Memorial Stadium is more appropriately sized but currently in pretty rough shape and it could really use a wider field for soccer. A wider field would also be more appropriate for sports like rugby and lacrosse, and obviously wouldn't preclude American football from also being played there.

Anyway, so I was curious if the city was considering some work to Memorial Stadium so I did a little research and found that they are considering stadium improvements. It's a nice central location, even if the existing stadium itself is kind of dumpy. The streetcar would probably provide service to Memorial stadium, if it's ever built.

There are three options being considered:

Option 1: Minor repairs to existing stadium, $3-4 million, approximately 3 year lifespan

Option 2: Reconstruction of existing stadium, $22-25 million, approximately 50 year lifespan

Option 3: New stadium, $30+ million, approximately 50 year lifespan.

More detail at the following link:

http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ParkandRec/Facilities/EventFacilities/Pages/Memorial%20Stadium.aspx

I don't see funding for any of those options going over well.

 

Unless an MLS team comes to Charlotte, UNC Charlotte could take over pretty much all of the events that Memorial currently hosts. It is a good size for major high school football games (plus it would be a good recruiting asset for the school to hold games there). In my opinion, memorial stadium should just be torn down unless an MLS team is awarded to the city.

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Yeah, at this point we pretty much need a private investor to step up and say "hey, I want to have an MLS expansion team in Charlotte" and be willing to fund the stadium expansion or have his company sponsor said expansion, maybe with the guarantee of  naming rights.  That said, I don't see any "wealthy leaders" in our city stepping up.  For some reason, at least in Charlotte, they've all slunk back into the woodwork.  

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Yeah, at this point we pretty much need a private investor to step up and say "hey, I want to have an MLS expansion team in Charlotte" and be willing to fund the stadium expansion or have his company sponsor said expansion, maybe with the guarantee of  naming rights.  That said, I don't see any "wealthy leaders" in our city stepping up.  For some reason, at least in Charlotte, they've all slunk back into the woodwork.  

 

This might be because MLS is still somewhat unproven in the US. If you look at where MLS teams have had success, it is on the West Coast and in the Northeast where there are much larger international and Hispanic populations. The city of Charlotte has a larger Hispanic population than the rest of the cities in the Carolinas (15%), but that absolute number is still pretty small and the city does not have tourism to supplement any local fans.

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In my opinion, MLS and Soccer in general have a ways to go for making headway in this town.
Is there even a consistent major grass-roots following of the (USL PRO) Charlotte Eagles?
I see the play at Charlotte Christian and do not have a dedicated field, so maybe the community should start with those efforts.

Back home, the Richmond Kickers, also in same division, have much larger presence in/around the city and huge local support and interest.

DC United comes down to play them in exhibition games every season.

At least DC's not too far to go for the demo/friendly matches between BPL & European Champions League clubs which completely sell out FedEx field, 91.7k capacity.
Being primarily a fan of English & European soccer, I would much rather see these types of matches coming to BoA Stadium, than an MLS team.
 

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In my opinion, MLS and Soccer in general have a ways to go for making headway in this town.

Is there even a consistent major grass-roots following of the (USL PRO) Charlotte Eagles?

I see the play at Charlotte Christian and do not have a dedicated field, so maybe the community should start with those efforts.

Back home, the Richmond Kickers, also in same division, have much larger presence in/around the city and huge local support and interest.

DC United comes down to play them in exhibition games every season.

At least DC's not too far to go for the demo/friendly matches between BPL & European Champions League clubs which completely sell out FedEx field, 91.7k capacity.

Being primarily a fan of English & European soccer, I would much rather see these types of matches coming to BoA Stadium, than an MLS team.

 

I don't think anyone really goes to Charlotte Eagles games. UNC Charlotte's soccer team gets a fair amount of support (top 20 in attendance nationally), but only in the neighborhood of 2-3,000 fans per game.

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I'll be honest, for me, the "christian" part of the Charlotte Eagles is a huge drawback.  I know that will not be the case for everyone, but I want raucous crowds and lively atmosphere at a soccer game...not family fun in the name of Jesus.  

 

No offense to those that enjoy it, I'm glad there is an available outlet for those that do.  it's just not my cup of tea and probably the same case for a lot of people.  Move them to Memorial, sell some beer (like urbanity proposed) and make it seem a little more exciting and I'll go.

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Talking about a Charlotte MLS team without even an established organized soccer following is pretty foolish.  Think about it, if cities such as Indianapolis, Orlando, St. Louis, and San Antonio; all with large to huge soccer followings are focusing on NASL (Division 2) instead of MLS, what makes you think Charlotte would come from nowhere and create enough of a soccer fanbase out of thin air to support MLS? 

 

From the talks on here of MLB vs minors, it sounds like there may be a Charlotte stigma against minor league sports; however, give NASL 5 years and the average attendance league wide will likely be closer to 10-12k (reasonable for Charlotte) and there will likely be around 15 teams and the level of play would be somewhat cloooose to MLS (my prediction).

 

Even if MLS is an aspiration, try your hand at NASL and see if you can hang with the medium-sized dogs for a few seasons.   :thumbsup:  I'd love for Charlotte, Richmond, and Charleston to join Carolina & Atlanta in NASL and create a region known for its soccer supporters groups and their rivalries!! 

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There was some MLS vs. MLB discussion in the Knights thread followed by a request to keep the Knights thread about the Knights, so I wanted to followup on that discussion here. BOA Stadium is probably too big of a venue for MLS and definitely too big for an NALS club. Memorial Stadium is more appropriately sized but currently in pretty rough shape and it could really use a wider field for soccer. 

Anyway, so I was curious if the city was considering some work to Memorial Stadium so I did a little research and found that they are considering stadium improvements. It's a nice central location, even if the existing stadium itself is kind of dumpy. The streetcar would probably provide service to Memorial stadium, if it's ever built.

Option 3: New stadium, $30+ million, approximately 50 year lifespan.

 

 

I cut out some of your post for the quote - but you basically said what I always envisioned (and this is wish list) for Memorial Stadium and Soccer in Charlotte.  While I would love an MLS tea,. I would be very happy to see us land an NASL team and a new stadium in the Memorial Stadium location would be an ideal location in my opinion   

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I cut out some of your post for the quote - but you basically said what I always envisioned (and this is wish list) for Memorial Stadium and Soccer in Charlotte.  While I would love an MLS tea,. I would be very happy to see us land an NASL team and a new stadium in the Memorial Stadium location would be an ideal location in my opinion   
What do you think about using UNCC's soccer stadium for an NASL club? I know many universities frown upon selling alcohol at campus facilities which might be the biggest obstacle to Transamerica Field as a venue. They would also be competing with the UNCC team which I hear has been a big time college program lately. Transamerica seats 4,000, which would accommodate the Railhawks' average capacity. If an NASL or USL club could consistently sell out a 4,000 seat stadium, there's more incentive to rebuild a soccer appropriate field at Memorial. The professional lacrosse club in Charlotte is claiming an average attendance of 5,700 in Memorial Stadium, which is a bit surprising to me. I wouldn't be shocked if NASL could do better. http://mll.stats.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=323&seasonid=8519 It's too bad that Charlotte Rugby has dropped from Rugby Super League all the way down to Division 3. We briefly looked at potential larger venues a few years ago when the club was very successful and busting at the seams at the clubhouse, but we weren't interested in the narrow field at Memorial Stadium and we assumed that our fans wouldn't be very interested in moving to a larger venue if they couldn't buy drinks, plus it was hard for a bunch of amateurs to fathom paying money to rent a stadium when the club owned its own small facility. I haven't talked to anyone at the club since I moved away from the area in 2007, but I would guess that now some of the experienced players have retired and the club may be suffering from cannibalism with the D3 club that started in Charlotte. Hopefully with all the youth and high school rugby that is developing in Charlotte, one of the local amateur clubs will re-emerge as a top notch D1 club or RSL candidate. Anyway, tangent over. The point of my rambling is that it would be cool if there was a sport like soccer, lacrosse, or rugby playing at Memorial Stadium almost every weekend. In addition to the local clubs, a reconstructed Memorial Stadium could also host nonmajor college sports conference championships, national tournaments/championships, etc.

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I don't see funding for any of those options going over well.

 

Unless an MLS team comes to Charlotte, UNC Charlotte could take over pretty much all of the events that Memorial currently hosts. It is a good size for major high school football games (plus it would be a good recruiting asset for the school to hold games there). In my opinion, memorial stadium should just be torn down unless an MLS team is awarded to the city.

 

I don't know about tearing it down, Memorial host quite a few events every year, I'm not sure UNC Charlotte could accommodate all of them.  I really like plan #3 that was presented, it would still put the fans about where they are at the highschool stadiums, yet accomodate more uses.  The Major problem I have with it is that it lowers the homeside seating, which is needed for the band competitions that happen there.

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 It's too bad that Charlotte Rugby has dropped from Rugby Super League all the way down to Division 3. We briefly looked at potential larger venues a few years ago when the club was very successful and busting at the seams at the clubhouse, but we weren't interested in the narrow field at Memorial Stadium and we assumed that our fans wouldn't be very interested in moving to a larger venue if they couldn't buy drinks, plus it was hard for a bunch of amateurs to fathom paying money to rent a stadium when the club owned its own small facility. I haven't talked to anyone at the club since I moved away from the area in 2007, but I would guess that now some of the experienced players have retired and the club may be suffering from cannibalism with the D3 club that started in Charlotte. Hopefully with all the youth and high school rugby that is developing in Charlotte, one of the local amateur clubs will re-emerge as a top notch D1 club or RSL candidate. Anyway, tangent over. The point of my rambling is that it would be cool if there was a sport like soccer, lacrosse, or rugby playing at Memorial Stadium almost every weekend. In addition to the local clubs, a reconstructed Memorial Stadium could also host nonmajor college sports conference championships, national tournaments/championships, etc.

 

I'm heavily involved in CRFC and have been with the club since Jan 2008. If you want to chat about the club, PM me and I can fill you in on all of the changes. The field at Memorial isn't big enough for Soccer or Rugby, although the County was looking at rennovations that included expanding the field to be large enough to support a regulation soccer field.

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Big news!  Jim McPhillimay, owner of the Charlotte Hounds, has purchased the rights to the Charlotte Eagles and will operate it as a for profit team, moving it to Memorial Stadium in 2 years.  Even bigger, he plans on trying to put together an expansion bid for Charlotte to get a MLS team by 2020 as MLS expands to 24 teams.

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Hot Damn!  

Question for people who know Memorial Stadium. surrounding buildings/lots, and MLS requirements:  

 

Is there room/ability to expand Memorial stadium to eventually fit MLS or would it be a tear down and rebuild?

Edited by Urbanity

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Hot Damn!!!

Does that mean the team will finally not be a religious (snicker) soccer team, and sell beer? If so this is the best random news story I've heard in awhile. I also will go to some games if they don't try and convert me.

Edited by Missmylab4

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Big news! Jim McPhillimay, owner of the Charlotte Hounds, has purchased the rights to the Charlotte Eagles and will operate it as a for profit team, moving it to Memorial Stadium in 2 years. Even bigger, he plans on trying to put together an expansion bid for Charlotte to get a MLS team by 2020 as MLS expands to 24 teams.

Whoa!!!! That's awesome news!

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Sooo stoked to read this yesterday! An actual USLpro team (for profit and non-religiously affiliated) is exactly what I've been wanting here.
Can someone throw me in a cryogenic sleep and wake me up in 2017 when everything is up and going in center city?

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From the comments on the Observer article (the one by the Hounds VP, especially), it sounds like the Eagles will drop down to a lower level as planned and stay there as a Christian team in the future. What the Hounds are doing is buying the franchise rights; in other words, instead of buying the Eagles team itself, he's buying the right to have a USL Pro franchise in Charlotte. So it would be an entirely new team with a new name and everything, playing in the USL Pro.

 

Am I right about this? Anyone have better understanding of "franchise rights" vs. buying the actual team?

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From the comments on the Observer article (the one by the Hounds VP, especially), it sounds like the Eagles will drop down to a lower level as planned and stay there as a Christian team in the future. What the Hounds are doing is buying the franchise rights; in other words, instead of buying the Eagles team itself, he's buying the right to have a USL Pro franchise in Charlotte. So it would be an entirely new team with a new name and everything, playing in the USL Pro.

 

Am I right about this? Anyone have better understanding of "franchise rights" vs. buying the actual team?

 

 

That's how I interpreted it as well.  Hopefully they re-brand the whole thing.  I've still got my heart set on some sort of German or Scottish themed team. 

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That's how I interpreted it as well.  Hopefully they re-brand the whole thing.  I've still got my heart set on some sort of German or Scottish themed team. 

 

Something German or Scottish to go with the heritage of this area's first Europeans would be cool.

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