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NcSc74

Is now the time for MLS in NC

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I am a die hard Panther fan but I must admit watching the world cup got me kinda excited. I have never really watched soccer with an interesting eye but now I can see why it is a world game. I'm wondering if it is the right time for one of the NC metro areas to snag a MLS franchise. Heck if I can be converted then most certainly there has to be thousands of others who share the desire to watch some world class soccer(football). Who is gonna take the bait and try to bring high level football to NC. If I was stateside I would want to take my kids to a match. The most obvious place is the triangle which happens to be my choice to relocate when my time is up here in the UK. Any thoughts....

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It's a tough call. We have an that speculates some on this topic. After going to the most excellent Mexico v Iceland game held here back in March, I think its reasonable that the region could support a team. Having said that, Miami and Tampa Bay both have had MLS teams and both failed.

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I am a huge soccer fan and I have been watching as many World Cup matches as I can. Many people at work who were showing little to no interest when the Cup started are now starting to talk about some of the matches and I think Donovan's late goal in USA's last match has caused a lot of people to take notice. Sadly, I feel that unless MLS does some amazing things to keep people here in the states talking and watching then the interest will slowly wain again. The best we can probably hope for is that in each major market there will be a small increase in new die hard fans once all of the World Cup talk has stopped. As a soccer fan it's kinda hard for me to say that, but I think it is the most realistic scenario.

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I will say the Triad has been eyeing a major league soccer franchise for a long time now. There was an effort in the early 2000s to build a major league soccer stadium in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem. Even computer renderings of the stadium were drawn up. Greensboro is home to the region's soccer team, the Carolina Dynamo which has strong support. There was a recent stadium expansion because of the attendance. The Triad boasts the largest and fastest growing latino population in the state and there is a large soccer fan base among latinos. Currently a major league soccer stadium is part of the "Heart of the Triad" concept which will be a huge mixed-use development that covers thousands and thousands of acres and will include office, hitech manufacturing, research & educational facilities, retail, residential, recreation, hotels ect. The plan includes a "major league" sports park that would have the soccer stadium and a new home for Greensboro's PGA Wyndham Championship. The heart of the Triad concept won't be typical suburban sprawl but will be smart growth with more urban/pedestrian style development and will include train stops for the Triad's future commuter train service.

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There are a lot of good reasons why North Carolina is ripe for an MLS franchise:

1. The youth setup in this state is among one of the best, so there'll be a good young fanbase in whatever city is chosen.

2. There is a high Hispanic population in the state, and as the turnout for the Mexico/Iceland friendly showed, that'll just about guarantee fan interest.

3. This state has already played host to the national team's training camp for one World Cup (Cary in 2006).

4. Plenty of solid college programs in the area, from big colleges to small colleges.

I would be one of the first in line to buy season tickets for an MLS team in this state if it were to be located in the Raleigh-Durham area or the Triad. Personally, I think it's between the Triangle and Triad for a team. Charlotte's already got two major league teams and a AAA baseball team.

However, the MLS has already finalized expansion through 2012, and any further expansion is going to take a while until the league continues to establish itself. Capitalizing on World Cup fever is not just exclusive to this area. The first step is for a North Carolina ownership team to take shape and organize a bid.

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^^^ I agree with a lot of your points and think North Carolina is the perfect place for an expansion team.

My own opinion is that it is very possible that both North Carolina and Georgia (Atlanta) get teams at the same time just like the 2009 Northwest expansion in Portland and Vancouver.

As far the where in North Carolina, I'm torn. I think (currently) Charlotte makes the best sense business wise as far as media and drawing power. That said, I agree with your point that it would be great if the Triad could have MLS as it would balance out the location of all the major sports franchises in the state.

If we get to the point of landing an expansions team (not for a few years) I honestly think it will be between Charlotte and the Triad with the Triad having a greater chance if Greensboro, Winston Salem and Highpoint effectively coordinate their bid.

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