|Report: Panthers' Tepper to meet with MLS leadership in New York|
|NFL franchise owner wants soccer in Charlotte|
|Published Wednesday, June 26, 2019 6:14 pm|
|PHOTO | TROY HULL|
|Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has made no secret of his interest in buying a Major League Soccer franchise for Charlotte.|
David Tepper’s MLS aspirations aren’t a secret, but his trip to New York is the latest piece in his drive to acquire a team.
Just shy of a year since he bought the Carolina Panthers, the billionaire NFL owner heads to MLS headquarters next month to meet with the league, according to Sports Illustrated.
Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell, chair of the panel’s Economic Development Committee, said he’s unaware of a meeting between the Panthers and MLS. Neither responded to a request for comment when contacted by The Post.
MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed in April following the Board of Governors meeting in Los Angeles that the league will expand to 30 teams with the entry fee for clubs 28 and 29 set at $200 million, $50 million more than the 2017 franchise fee for the 25th team, which a different Charlotte ownership group bid for. Inter Miami and Nashville SC begin play in 2020 and Austin FC will join in 2021, placing the league at 27 teams.
Sacramento and St. Louis ownership groups will present to the league’s expansion committee the week of July 15, according to SI. The league’s board of governors will meet in Orlando around the MLS All-Star game on July 31.
“We’re in their hands on the process. We will now be emphasizing that we are turnkey,” Panthers President Tom Glick told SI’s Brian Straus.
Charlotte hosted Gold Cup group matches for the third time on Sunda, with an announced crowd of 59,283 at Bank of America Stadium – nearly 4,000 more than in 2015 when the previous Charlotte doubleheader was held. Charlotte will also host Arsenal and Fiorentia on July 20 in the International Champions Cup. The highest attendance for soccer at BofA Stadium is 69,364 when Liverpool played A.C. Milan in 2014 for the first ICC match held in Charlotte.
Tepper purchased the NFL Panthers on July 9, 2018 for $2.2 billion and his interest in adding soccer was made clear long before that. He has a 75,525-seat stadium in the heart of Uptown and a net worth of $11.6 billion at his disposal. Hiring Glick in September reinforced his ambition. Glick spent six years with City Football Group, which owns reigning English Premier League champion Manchester City as well as New York City FC of MLS. Glick helped launch the MLS side in 2015, temporarily taking on the role of president. CFG owns six top-division clubs in England, the United States, Australia, Spain, Japan and Uruguay.
Tepper said the organization is engaged in ongoing discussions with MLS about expanding to Charlotte, as previously reported by The Post during his closed-door meeting with reporters earlier this year.
The Panthers put out a call through Charlotte Soccer Academy for two focus groups on Feb. 6. Each session lasted approximately 90 minutes, and RSVP capacity was filled.
|No brainer. Tepper is a Godsend to the city.|
|Posted on June 26, 2019|
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