Fans go delirious as Charlotte lands MLS’s 30th team


Charlotte new stadium design Image: Gensler

A humongous crowd of elated soccer fans squealed in delight outside a south Charlotte brewery – the most populous city in the US State of North Carolina – recently to celebrate the Queen City’s selection as Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 30th franchise.

The announcement to this effect was made by MLS with Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper. Charlotte beat out Las Vegas and Phoenix for the team, with the City of Charlotte planning to spend $110 million in support of the team.

The new team doesn’t have a name yet, but a trademark application has been filed for eight possible team names. A Panthers top gun has filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office eight trademarks for potential team names.

The names go as – Charlotte FC, Charlotte Crown FC, Charlotte Fortune FC, Charlotte Monarchs FC, Charlotte Athletic FC, Charlotte Town FC, Carolina Gliders FC and All Carolina FC.

The US Patent and Trademark Office informed that the trademarks were filed by DT Soccer, LLC, which lists its address at the Bank of America Stadium.

The trademark application lists Stephen Argeris – Panther’s Vice-President and general counsel – as the application contact.

That DT Soccer’s address is the same as that of the venue was confirmed by team spokesman Steven Drummond who also confirmed that Argeris is still in the rolls of Panthers. He refused to divulge any more information.

The patent office has accepted the trademark applications, but the same has not yet been entrusted to an examining agent. As per the office, trademark applications are allocated to an examining attorney about three months after they are filed.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber told fans, “We’re going to count on you when your team hits the field in 2021.”

David Tepper, the billionaire owner of Carolina Panthers – a professional American football team based in Charlotte – has worked overtime to bring a team to the city. Once renovations are through, the team will play in Bank of America Stadium.

Five hundred diehard fans left in six party buses for an invite-only thank you party hosted by MLS at Brewers at 4001 Yancey off Old Pineville Road.

The group, known as Mint City Collective, includes such MLS Charlotte team hardcore fans like Palmer Steele of Concord and Maria Francis of Charlotte, both of whom grew up playing soccer and have followed the sport religiously all of their lives.

“It’s going to be absolutely phenomenal,” Emerson Huston, a Mint City Collective member, observed vis-a-vis the support he expects for the team when it begins playing at Bank of America Stadium in 2021.

Soon after the announcement, Huston was among 1,000 or so fans who paid a $50 deposit online for season tickets. MLS confirmed the number on Twitter.

“This is something we can stand together on and unite the city,” said Huston’s friend, Matthew Cirullo, referring to Charlotte’s varied cultures and the sport followed by billions globally.

Stadium issues

Earlier this month, MLS Commissioner Don Garber observed at the league’s Board of Governors meeting, “We believe (Charlotte is) a growing city on the rise, and one that’s got so much opportunity for us to be able to continue to expand our league,”

But he was quick to add that, “we’ve got issues that need to get resolved as it is related to the (Bank of America) Stadium.”

Tepper had earlier told media persons that the facility will need to be revamped in order to host a soccer team, including furnishing the stadium with soccer camera angles, a center tunnel and two new locker rooms. The stadium went on stream in 1996 and is one of NFL’s oldest.

The 30th expansion team is expected to pay a higher expansion fee than recent teams, but an exact figure has not yet been released. The last two MLS expansion teams each paid expansion fees of $200 million.

Charlotte city officials are yet to declare how much of public money will be used to spruce up the stadium or other MLS costs. The city council members are a divided house over this issue.

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