Don Garber: Charlotte has moved to 'front of the line' in MLS expansion

MLS commissioner Don Garber says the 30th MLS team could be announced in the "next number of months" and the league's expansion committee has been working with groups from three cities.

“There are three markets we’re looking at, that our expansion committee is engaged with: Charlotte, Las Vegas and Phoenix," Garber said at his State of the League address. "It’s fair to say Charlotte has done a lot of work to move their bid to the front of the line. It starts with David Tepper, passionate about our sport and very passionate about Charlotte."

Tepper bought the NFL Carolina Panthers from founder Jerry Richardson in May 2018. The Panthers play at 75,523-seat Bank of America Stadium, which Tepper's group has proposed as its home for an MLS team.

"There are a lot of things happening in Charlotte that are similar to things that are happening in Atlanta," Garber added. "I think the Carolinas are great states for soccer. You know that from a women’s soccer perspective and a youth soccer perspective. Should we be able to move forward and end up with a team in Charlotte, I’m confident they would be successful.”

Currently MLS has 24 teams. It already has plans to add five more teams:

-- Inter Miami and Nashville SC in 2020;
-- Austin FC in 2021; and
-- St. Louis and Sacramento Republic FC in 2022.

Adding a second team in 2021 would allow MLS to avoid playing with an odd number of teams, which creates scheduling issues.

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9 comments about "Don Garber: Charlotte has moved to 'front of the line' in MLS expansion".
  1. Wallace Wade, November 9, 2019 at 8:55 a.m.

    Why not Minot N.D. Don?

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, November 9, 2019 at 9:20 a.m.

    Because Charlotte is the 23rd largest TV market in the US and Charlotte is in the top 10 NFL teams for attendence.

    I lived in NC for a couple of years. Wonderful state. Great people. Best BBQ in the world. I would need to make a lot of visits to the Carolinas before making up my mind. ;)

  3. R2 Dad replied, November 9, 2019 at 12:49 p.m.

    It's all about the money. If Minot has $500M for the entry fee and new stadium, I'm sure Teflon Don will take your money. Of course, he may raise that $200M to $300M by the time he gets around to it.

  4. Paul Berry, November 9, 2019 at 2 p.m.

    So we're looking at 34 with Vegas and Phoenix sure to follow and San Diego and Detroit once they've solved their complex stadium issues. 

  5. Paul Berry, November 9, 2019 at 2 p.m.

    So we're looking at 34 with Vegas and Phoenix sure to follow and San Diego and Detroit once they've solved their complex stadium issues. 

  6. Wallace Wade, November 9, 2019 at 2:21 p.m.

    You've lost all credibility. Everyone knows Texas has the best BBQ in the World! 

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, November 10, 2019 at 10:08 p.m.

    I have had Texas, Chicago, Louisiana, and lots of other BBQs. The North Carolina pig pickin's I had can't be beat. It's been almost 40 years but I can still taste it. :)

  8. Phil Hardy, November 9, 2019 at 4:03 p.m.

    Been saying it for at least 7 years. 40 teams: 20 in each conference. 

  9. Randy Vogt, November 9, 2019 at 7:02 p.m.

    Although it's only been a franchise or two every couple of years up to this point, it looks like MLS is now overexpanding just like the NHL did. Does anybody get excited and rush out to buy tickets when the Arizona Coyotes or San Jose Sharks come to town? With all these rather nondescript franchises, it's no wonder that the NHL markets its "Original Six" clubs, even though the name is misleading. More franchises means less chance for fans to experience the joy of their team winning the championship. Variety is the spice of life and introducing promotion and relegation will ensure teams play new teams every year. Also, it seems that with the Atlanta and Seattle experience, MLS is now okay with teams using NFL stadiums as they appear fine with the Fire moving back to Soldier Field and Charlotte has moved to the front of the line without a planned soccer-specific stadium.

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