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Panthers owner gauges local fans' interest in Major League Soccer
Survey part of stadium upgrade questionnaire
 
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019 10:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
The Carolina Panthers, whose owner, David Tepper is interested in acquiring a Major League Soccer franchise, emailed a soccer questionnaire to selected fans.

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David Tepper keeps taking steps to indicate his interest in Major League Soccer.

The Carolina Panthers owner’s latest outreach includes Bank of America Stadium enhancement surveys and an MLS survey, which were sent to fans via email.

“You are among a select group of fans invited to participate in a survey about potential enhancements to Bank of America Stadium,” the email read. “In addition to this survey, we would love to hear your feedback regarding a potential expansion Major League Soccer team in Charlotte that could also call Bank of America Stadium home. Upon completion of the Stadium Enhancement survey, you will receive a prompt to take the MLS survey.”

The Panthers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tepper made his interest in the league known prior to purchasing the Panthers in July for $2.2 billion and hired Tom Glick, an executive with extensive soccer experience, as team president. Glick spent six years with City Football Group, which operates English Premier League team Manchester City. The Panthers held focus groups at a private marketing firm in South Charlotte in February to determine local interest.

Tepper has expressed interest in holding events beyond football in the 75,525-seat stadium. Charlotte will host the stadium will host both the International Champions Cup game between Arsenal and Roma on July 20 and two Group A CONCACAF Gold Cup games on June 23: Canada-Cuba and Martinique-Mexico. This is the third time Charlotte has hosted the Gold Cup (2011 and 2015). ICC games were played at Bank of America Stadium 2014-16, as well as last summer.

International soccer showcases have produced a combined $74.2 million in economic impact in Charlotte, with the exception of the 2016 ICC match, which Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority did not produce an economic impact report for, as well as excluding the 2011 Gold Cup.

The next additions to MLS will be Miami and Nashville in 2020 and Austin, Texas in 2021. A 28th team is expected to join in 2022. Charlotte submitted a bid for an MLS franchise in 2017, with Speedway Motorsports Inc. at the helm and Mecklenburg County-operated American Legion Memorial Stadium as the proposed stadium site. The bid was rejected, and USL Championship franchise Charlotte Independence, who began negotiations with the county in 2016 as the primary tenant once stadium renovations were complete, are expected to play there in 2021. Renovations are set to begin in June.

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