Marcus Smith‘s effort to bring an MLS expansion franchise to Charlotte continues without a financial commitment from the city, and officials are unsure if the proposal will be reconsidered.
As part of the expansion bid that includes Smith–the president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports–and his father Bruton Smith, the proposed new stadium would be constructed on land that is currently occupied by Memorial Stadium and the Grady Cole Center. The price tag of the stadium is projected to be $175 million, and a funding model released early this called on the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to each contribute $43.75 million to its cost.
In January, the county voted to approve its contribution. The same day that decision was made, however, the city scrapped its vote after several officials expressed their reservations with the proposal. Since then, the city has not reconsidered the issue.
Meanwhile, MLS officials acknowledge that they have not yet finalized a date to visit the city, and some Charlotte leaders are expressing their doubts as to whether the proposal will be reconsidered. Smith, for his part, is still moving forward with the bid, but city council members say that they have not discussed the proposal. More from The Charlotte Observer:
“We’re having clarification discussions with different groups now to try to make sure everybody understands the opportunity,” said Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports.
Coincil members told the Observer this week, however, they haven’t talked about the proposed stadium funding since their retreat in January, and they have not been approached by the Smiths with additional details on the project.
“To my knowledge, the council is not considering professional soccer right now. It’s not on our radar,” City Council member Julie Eiselt said.
The financing proposal called on the city’s contribution to come from its hotel/motel tax fund. Charlotte is one of 12 options in the mix for four MLS expansion slots; we took a closer look at its chances in our most recent MLS expansion odds feature.
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