The city of Charlotte in North Carolina has been awarded the next MLS expansion franchise today. The franchise is set to launch in 2021, it was announced in a press conference earlier today.
MLS commissioner Don Garber and David Tepper – billionaire and owner of the NFL Carolina Panthers team were both present at the conference.
Charlotte to be 30th MLS club
Commissioner Garber hinted this is likely the last announcement they would make for now.
“We are thrilled to welcome Charlotte as Major League Soccer’s 30th club,” said Garber.
“During the last two decades, Charlotte has experienced enormous energy and growth, which matches soccer’s explosive rise in popularity in the United States. It’s the right decision at the right time.”
MLS is growing rapidly in the past years. The league began with only 10 US clubs in 1996, but the number will grow to 30 in 2021.
Inter Miami, owned by football superstar David Beckham, will debut in 2020, alongside a new team in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2021, Austin, Texas will have its team, joined by the aforementioned Charlotte. As for 2022, St. Louis and Sacramento will be making their league debuts.
The new Charlotte team needn’t worry for a venue to play, as the Carolina Panthers’ 75,000-seater Bank of America Stadium will suit their needs perfectly.
The owner of the NFL franchise – David Tepper – immediately started fueling the rivalry with the MLS team in Atlanta in neighboring Georgia.
“We’re the hot city. Screw that city. “We’re going to have one hell of a rivalry, ” Tepper said about Atlanta.
Atlanta United has been growing rapidly since their inauguration in 2017. They’ve won the MLS Cup in 2018 and were the most valuable team in the league in 2019, according to Forbes magazine.