|Panthers' survey on Major League Soccer support closes April 19|
|Questionnaire part of bid to land franchise|
|Published Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:47 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|A survey weighing support for major League Soccer was sent by the Carolina Panthers as part of the franchise's interest in pursuing a franchise.|
David Tepper is doing his homework on what Charlotte area soccer fans are willing to pay for.
A 15-minute survey from the Carolina Panthers went on out April 10 to gather input about potential enhancements to Bank of America Stadium. The organization also sought “feedback regarding a potential expansion Major League Soccer team in Charlotte that could also call Bank of America Stadium home.” Surveys close on April 19.
The Major League Soccer Team Survey begins with a question about household income, with an option not to disclose that information. It also asks about interest in soccer with three options: “Avid fan,” “casual fan,” or “not a fan.” They also inquired about whether or not respondents consume the game via television and internet, followed by a question about which league(s) or tournament(s) they watch, ranging from MLS to English Premier League to Liga MX. Other questions include:
“How would you characterize your interest in Major League Soccer (MLS)?”
“Have you attended an MLS match in the past?”
“Have you attended any of the following major soccer matches that have been hosted at Bank of America Stadium in recent years?”
“Do you (or your company) currently purchase season tickets for any collegiate or professional sports team(s) in the Charlotte area?”
“If a MLS team were brought to the marketplace, what preference, if any, would you have for the Club’s name?”
Charlotte’s 2017 MLS bid under Charlotte Motor Speedway executive Marcus Smith was rejected in large part due to a battle over funding for renovations at American Legion Memorial Stadium, a Mecklenburg County owned and operated facility that dates back to the Great Depression. While the Elizabeth neighborhood stadium’s location offered the urban core proximity desired by the league, Charlotte City Council did not support demolition, nor public funds to pay for it. Without that location, the bid failed.
Bank of America Stadium is a proven locale for successful soccer in Uptown. The stadium in Third Ward seats 75,525 and will host legs of two soccer tournaments this summer: International Champions Cup (Arsenal-Roma on July 20) and two Group A CONCACAF Gold Cup games on June 23 (Canada-Cuba and Martinique-Mexico). Charlotte hosted the Gold Cup in 2011 and 2015. ICC has been played at Bank of America Stadium 2014-16 and last summer, but went elsewhere in 2017 due to field renovations.
The next expansions to MLS will be Miami and Nashville in 2020 and Austin, Texas in 2021. A 28th team is expected to join in 2022. MLS announced its intention to 30 teams today after the league's Board of Governors meeting in Los Angeles. Expansion clubs 28 and 29 will pay $200 million. The fee in 2017 was $150 million.
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