Major League Soccer

AP sources: Charlotte getting Major League Soccer team

(AP Photo/Joe Reedy)

By STEVE REED

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) People familiar with the situation say Charlotte will be the home of a Major League Soccer expansion team.

The people spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because no public announcement has been made about the team.

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his media group sent out emails saying a “major announcement” will be coming Tuesday. The email states that Tepper, Charlotte mayor Vy Lyles and additional guests will be at the announcement.

Tepper made a formal presentation to MLS officials on Dec. 5.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said last week that he expected Charlotte to the league's 30th team. The commissioner said at that time no formal approval had been granted yet as the league and Tepper's group were working to finalize an agreement.

Charlotte's expansion team could begin play as soon as 2021.

Tepper said when he bought the Panthers in 2018 that he wanted to bring an MLS team to Charlotte, and promptly hired Tom Glick, who has experience working with the league, as the team's president.

The names the Charlotte expansion team is considering are: Charlotte FC, Charlotte Crown FC, Charlotte Fortune FC, Charlotte Monarchs FC, Charlotte Athletic FC, Charlotte Town FC, Carolina Gliders FC and All Carolina FC, according to a patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The expansion team will play its games at Bank of America Stadium, the same downtown stadium where the Panthers currently play their home games.

However, the stadium will need to be upgraded to host a professional soccer team, Tepper previously said. He said the stadium will need to be renovated to include new locker rooms and camera angles, among other soccer-specific items.

The price tag for the MLS expansion team is expected to exceed $300 million.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated December 13, 2019

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