After Charlotte’s City Council decided to postpone a vote on their financial commitment to a stadium for the city’s MLS expansion bid, some wondered if Marcus Smith would continue his group’s pursuit of a franchise. Monday’s press conference removed all doubt and Charlotte will be one of the cities that submit an expansion bid ahead of MLS’ Tuesday deadline.
Smith told the Charlotte Business Journal’s Erik Spanberg that MLS did not want the stadium negotiations to end Charlotte’s bid. He said that there is not a deadline for the city’s decision.
However, in this afternoon’s press conference, Speedway Motorsports’ Chief Strategy Officer Mike Burch said that the city’s support will be needed sooner rather than later.
The terms of the proposal are the same, the stadium proposal calls for the city to match Mecklenburg County’s committed $43.75 million. That funding would come from taxes generated by tourism and would not be pulling from tax dollars earmarked for other projects. Burch also said that while the city postponed last week’s scheduled vote on the proposal, talks are ongoing and promising enough to continue with the bid.
With Phoenix a new addition, there are eleven confirmed cities that are expected to submit official bids to MLS tomorrow. Burch said that the league told his group that twelve bids were expected, but it is unclear as to what city would be the twelfth.