CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After more than a year of speculation, it's official: Charlotte will be home to the 30th Major League Soccer franchise.
The announcement was made by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The team will be owned by David Tepper.
"This is an historic day for Major League Soccer," Garber said. "It's an historic day for the sport of soccer in the Queen City and it's an historic day for the Queen City.
"All of us and all of you have worked so hard to create this reality, this dream all of you had to bring MLS to Charlotte."
Tuesday's announcement comes after years of speculation and some unsuccessful attempts to bring an MLS club to the Queen City. In 2017, Charlotte was a contender for MLS, led by Charlotte Motor Speedway's Marcus Smith. That bid fell apart when Charlotte City Council balked at taxpayer funding for part of the cost of a stadium.
Tepper's announcement comes less than a week after Charlotte City Council committed $110 million to make Bank of America Stadium ready for a Major League Soccer franchise.
In a letter to MLS commissioner Don Garber from November, Lyles included the old Eastland Mall property for the team's headquarters and practice facilities. Stakeholders in Charlotte's campaign to land the franchise met with MLS leaders in New York earlier this month and it was believed the last hurdle to clear was stadium renovations.
Other cities reportedly in the running for the franchise were Phoenix and Las Vegas. Tom Glick, president of the Carolina Panthers, told NBC Charlotte's Nick Carboni they were confident Charlotte would be chosen.
"They know now, from us, how well Charlotte supports soccer," Glick said. "They're really excited about the idea of an investor like David Tepper becoming an owner in the league."
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