The Queen City Is One Step Closer To Clinching The 30th MLS Team

CHARLOTTE, NC. — The Queen City is one step closer to clinching the 30th Major League Soccer team. The league commissioner is in final negotiations with Panthers owner David Tepper.

“The MLS board authorized the MLS expansion committee to enter into, what I expect to be, final negotiations with David to have Charlotte be our 30th team,” says MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

Garber addressed reporters after meeting with Panthers owner David Tepper and team President Tom Glick in New York Thursday. Garber says formal approval has not been granted.

Erik Spanberg with the Charlotte Business Journal, citing sources, says expect an announcement that Major League Soccer is coming to Charlotte on December 17th in Uptown.

City leaders are not talking. Mayor Vi Lyles tweeting today: “….If an announcement is to be made, it will happen at the appropriate time.”

Garber says the obstacle in finalizing the deal: Bank of America Stadium. Making sure it’s up with MLS standards with the proper tunnels, sports section and locker room environments.

“How would they size the stadium? Which has not been finalized yet. In the event they don’t end up with 70,000 fans a game, if they end up with fewer than that, how would we manage that?” says Garber.

Spanberg says Tepper wants about $100 million for stadium upgrades. Money for more upgrades could come from the tourism tax. Along with an MLS team headquarters and practice facility.

A source with the city tells WCCB the Panthers are considering the old Eastland Mall site as a potential MLS HQ.

MLS is not on the agenda for Monday’s city council meeting. It is possible they could discuss it in closed session. MLS has to go through the public process. Which means at least having a public discussion before a vote. There are only two city council meetings left this year.