Wake County Leaders Backing MLS Expansion Bid


An official in Wake County, NC was given authorization to send a letter of support to the MLS for Steve Malik‘s effort to bring an expansion team to North Carolina. 

Wake County is located within the state’s Research Triangle region, and includes Cary, where Malik’s North Carolina FC of the NASL plays it home games. The county seat is Raleigh.

On Monday, Wake County commissioners chairman Sig Hutchinson was given the authority by the board of commissioners to send a letter to MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott. The letter outlined the county’s strengths as a potential MLS market, and Hutchinson stated “On behalf of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, I offer our full support of the North Carolina Football Club’s bid to bring a Major League Soccer team to the Triangle.”

Malik’s bid for an expansion franchise was one of 12 to be submitted to the league in late January. The proposal from Malik is expected to eventually include more details on a new stadium that would be constructed within the Triangle region. What has been reported is that the stadium will be privately financed, but more details await on the proposed facility’s location and whether public funds will be utilized for costs such as infrastructure. More from the News & Observer:

Malik has said his group of investors plans to pay for a $150 million stadium and $150 million expansion fee, but may need some public money to pay for infrastructure such as parking and road maintenance. Malik hasn’t revealed the sites he’s considering for a stadium.

League representatives on Monday declined to say how much value the MLS places in local government support. Support from local government is included in every potential expansion market’s application, said Dan Courtemanche, executive vice president of communications. But the details of the applications are confidential, he said.

Hutchinson, for his part, said he thinks the letter will help Malik’s chances.

“It so fits our brand. It’s hip, it’s fun, it’s active. It’s all that we stand for,” he said. “From their perspective, the MLS is interested in economic development and putting fans in seats. We could definitely fill up the stadium.”

North Carolina FC currently plays its games at WakeMed Soccer Park. Along with North Carolina FC, WakeMed Soccer Park is slated to begin hosting the North Carolina Courage, an NWSL franchise that was recently acquired by Malik.

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