City Leaders, David Tepper Welcome Major League Soccer

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers’ owner David Tepper, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles graced the stage along with Heather O’Reilly, a former professional soccer player, to make the announcement of MLS coming to Charlotte in 2021.

Many Charlotte natives, celebrities and professional sports players from the respective sports in Charlotte embraced the new sports team with a montage video at the end of the live announcement.

Included in the celebrities that endorsed the new sports team coming to the area is popular Charlotte-native rapper DaBaby.

The announcement was live streamed on WCCB platforms, including Facebook.

MLS Announcement

WATCH LIVE: Panthers' owner David Tepper, MLS and city officials make official announcement about Major League Soccer in the Queen City

Posted by WCCB, Charlotte's CW on Tuesday, December 17, 2019

During the time of the announcement Charlotte’s MLS Twitter Page made their first announcements letting the city know of their excitement to be the newest home for the sport.

Along with the announcement was a logo of MLS including the city of Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, NC – Excitement building in Uptown Charlotte as city leaders and Panthers owner David Tepper prepare to welcome Major League Soccer to the Queen City.

Crews were busy Monday night setting up an “MLS Charlotte” banner outside of the Mint Museum, which is where the news conference will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m.

“We are very, very bullish about the Charlotte market,” said league Commissioner Don Garber earlier this month outside of a meeting in New York.

Garber told reporters that the league was in final negotiations to bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte.

David Tepper kept no secret that he wanted to bring MLS to Charlotte and was aggressive in making it happen. Part of his motivation may be the skyrocketing franchise fee.

ESPN is reporting the price tag for a team will cost Tepper $325 million dollars. It’s a huge increase from the $200 million dollars required of St. Louis and Sacramento, the league’s most recent expansion franchises.

Other details are yet to be determined. They include how Bank of America Stadium will be modified for soccer.

“How they would 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,” said Garber.

Last week, Mayor Vi Lyles sent a letter to league officials with plans moving forward. They included modifications to BofA stadium, $110 million dollars in hospitality funds and a headquarters and practice facility at the old Eastland Mall site in East Charlotte.

It’s possible there will be more public scrutiny on the plan when the council discusses the incentives again.

“David Tepper has a net worth of $12 billion dollars. What is the logic behind giving a billionaire our money,” said one speaker during public comment at the council meeting last week.

Council members have not formally voted on a finalized agreement.