Charlotte’s MLS bid up for discussion this week

Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, is putting together plans for his Major League Soccer expansion bid ahead of the league’s January 31 deadline for proposals. Mecklenburg County will have a public forum tomorrow to discuss Smith’s proposal for a $175 million stadium project. The costs for the project would be split between the government and the local ownership group.

The Charlotte Business Journal broke the news about the proposal last week. After the public forum and surveys of local residents are compiled, the county commissioners will vote Thursday on the project.

american_legion_memorial_stadium

Charlotte’s American Legion Memorial Stadium (Image provided by Bz3rk to Wikipedia)

American Legion Memorial Stadium, the proposed venue, was opened in 1936 and is currently the home to Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds. It is the old home of the American Soccer League’s Carolina Lightnin’ from 1981-1984.

Smith feels like the Memorial Stadium location is the only suitable one for MLS in Charlotte. He told Ashley Mahoney of The Charlotte Post, “We definitely did a lot of studying a number of different location options. It really does narrow down to Memorial for Charlotte. More broadly, it narrows down for MLS, it really narrows down to Uptown Charlotte. If you’re not in Uptown, then it’s probably not a winning bid.”

With North Carolina FC, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and Nashville all chasing franchises in the South, it will be quite a competition to see who makes the cut to be clubs 25-28 in MLS.

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