MLS Set to Visit Raleigh on Wednesday


MLS officials are set to visit Raleigh on Wednesday, when more information is expected to be revealed on an expansion bid from Steve Malik.

There has been some anticipation about how an MLS expansion bid for North Carolina’s Triangle region will unfold. Late last year, Malik unveiled new branding for the NASL’s North Carolina FC (formerly the Carolina RailHawks) and stated his intention to move forward with the pursuit of an MLS expansion franchise. Malik led a bid that was submitted in January.

Since then, however, there have been some questions about what details will emerge from the proposal. Malik has discussed the possibility of a new tadium that is privately financed, but has not revealed renderings or a preferred location.

Those details could be presented on Wednesday, as president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott and other MLS officials visit Raleigh. It will also give the community a chance to show its support. More from The News & Observer:

The stadium? Renderings and a preferred location – presumably somewhere in the downtown core – are expected to be revealed Wednesday, behind schedule. Malik says he can build a stadium without government assistance, unlike other expansion bids (including Charlotte) that are dependent on large amounts of government money.

And the community support? The NCFC partnership with the major youth soccer leagues is an important part, but turnout at Wednesday’s 5 p.m. rally downtown will go a long way toward making an impression on MLS. Historically, attendance for matches against MLS teams has been good, but the bar is set pretty high here. Cincinnati’s USL team drew more than 30,000 fans to each of a pair of wins over MLS teams in the Open Cup last month.

The bid from Malik is one of 12 that was submitted in January. Raleigh is not the only contender from North Carolina to receive a visit from MLS executives this week, as representatives from the league appeared in Charlotte on Tuesday.

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