Smith Submits Official Bid To Bring Major League Soccer To Charlotte

by February 2, 2017 0 comments

CONCORD, N.C. – Efforts to bring a Major League Soccer club to Charlotte kicked into high gear Tuesday when Charlotte sports entrepreneur Marcus Smith officially submitted a bid for the Queen City to be considered as an expansion site as the sport looks to grow to four new markets nationwide.

Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which owns Charlotte Motor Speedway, has been working with community stakeholders as well as city and county leaders since September to build support for bringing MLS soccer to Charlotte. In addition to submitting the official bid, Smith launched the Twitter handle @MLS4CLTand #MLS4CLT to encourage fans and stakeholders to share their support for the project.

Prospective clubs were given a deadline of Jan. 31 to formally submit their bid.

“Our meetings with community leaders across the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have shown tremendous interest in bringing Major League Soccer to the Queen City,” said Smith. “Today marks an important step in realizing that goal. Our excitement has been fueled by the fan and community support that we’ve seen swell across the region in recent weeks, and I believe our bid firmly positions us as a leading contender for an expansion team.”

Mecklenburg County leads the state with approximately $5 billion in annual visitor spending, more than two and a half times the next highest county, Wake County, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. A Major League Soccer club in Charlotte would add a new dimension to a tourism base that includes the NFL’sCarolina Panthers, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, NASCAR, the PGA and the Charlotte Knights Triple-A baseball team.

“We have long supported bringing MLS to Charlotte,” said Bob Morgan, Charlotte Chamber president and CEO. “Among other benefits, soccer is key to our ability to continue to attract young people and those born outside of the United States to our city.”

According to the Charlotte Chamber, 675 of Charlotte’s 1,018 foreign-owned firms are based in Europe, where soccer is wildly popular. Having an MLS team in Charlotte would add to the tool box to recruit even more companies and jobs to Charlotte.

The #MLS4CLT project has received positive feedback from a wide range of groups from the Elizabeth Neighborhood Association – representing the Charlotte neighborhood that would be the site of the proposed stadium – to Novant Health,Central Piedmont Community College and Mecklenburg County, which approved use of the Memorial Stadium site and $43.75 million toward stadium improvements.

MLS officials said 12 cities across the country were expected to submit bids by the Jan. 31 deadline.

Fans can show their support for bringing Major League Soccer to Charlotte using the #MLS4CLT or following the bid’s official Twitter account @MLS4CLT. For the latest news and information on the expansion process, visit

Source: Charlotte Motor Speedway/Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/

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