|Charlotte Independence launch ticket plans for Memorial Stadium|
|Franchise moves back to city in 2021|
|Published Monday, September 14, 2020 12:00 pm|
|Artist rendering of the renovated Memorial Stadium, which will be complete in time for the 2021 USL Championship season. The Charlotte Independence announced their season ticket campaign incorporating seating plans for Memorial, which is undergoing $35 million in upgrades with the soccer team as the primary tenant.|
The club announced ticket deposits for full and partial-season memberships at the refurbished facility for the 2021 campaign. It has been club President Jim McPhilliamy’s intention for the Independence to play there since he purchased the USL Championship rights in 2014. The Independence bounced from venue to venue, finally finding a temporary home at another Mecklenburg County facility—the Sportsplex at Matthews—in 2017.
County commissioners said during 2018 meetings on the stadium that Independence investor DiMicco’s involvement was a factor in their decision to pursue renovating Memorial, with the Independence as the primary tenant. The county intends to use the facility to house multiple events and sports, including high school athletics. McPhilliamy’s Charlotte Hounds—a Major League Lacrosse team—were the previous primary tenant of the stadium but went on a two-year hiatus in 2019 rather than play at temporary locations. The Hounds have not announced any plans to return in 2021.
Memorial Stadium, Charlotte’s first major event venue, was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. It has hosted events ranging from professional soccer to high school football to HBCU Battle of the Bands and professional lacrosse. After falling into disrepair, the county allotted $32 million for a capital project, and the city of Charlotte committed $3 million from tourism tax revenue, which will fund an artificial turf surface.
The Independence began working with the county on a deal in 2016, calling for $24 million split evenly between the county, city and team. Yet, Charlotte’s 2016-17 MLS4CLT bid under Charlotte Motor Speedway executive Marcus Smith, which had no affiliation with the Independence ownership group and ultimately failed, left Mecklenburg leaders skeptical of what County Manager Dena Diorio called “negotiating away our asset.” Proposals to renovate the site were met with resistance due to the historic nature of the facility, particularly the stone wall, which made the field too narrow for professional soccer. The 83-year-old stones will be restored, along with the commemoration of the American Legion in the new facility.Seating options include: club seats, VIP overlook seats, which include in-seat waiter service, field-level VIP seats with waiter service, reserved grandstand and general admission grandstand. Deposits are $25 per seat. Full-season memberships include free parking, up to 50% off single game tickets, limited-edition licensed seat cushion as well as first choice on seats. Partial-season memberships get to choose their seats second from a package that includes tickets to nine regular season home matches as well as up to 20 percent off single-match tickets.
“The Independence had the original will and vision to renovate American Legion Memorial Stadium to remake it into the great community asset it once was,” McPhilliamy said in a statement. “We are thrilled we will be able to make American Legion Memorial Stadium our home field starting in 2021. Being able to play in the new stadium will put the Charlotte Independence in a position to grow the beautiful game here in the Queen City and create something our whole community can be proud of.”
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