In a survey that included questions on possible Bank of America Stadium renovations, the Carolina Panthers also solicited fan feedback on a potential Charlotte MLS club.
Ever since David Tepper took over ownership of the Panthers last summer, there have been signs that he could pursue an MLS expansion club for Charlotte. Although that has yet to amount into a full-blown public campaign for an expansion team, it appears that MLS is on Tepper’s mind as he makes long-term facility plans for the Panthers.
In an email survey sent to select fans on Wednesday, the Panthers included questions about potential upgrades to Bank of America Stadium. The survey also provided fans the opportunity to provide their feedback on a potential Charlotte MLS club at the facility. More from the Charlotte Post:
“You are among a select group of fans invited to participate in a survey about potential enhancements to Bank of America Stadium,” the email read. “In addition to this survey, we would love to hear your feedback regarding a potential expansion Major League Soccer team in Charlotte that could also call Bank of America Stadium home. Upon completion of the Stadium Enhancement survey, you will receive a prompt to take the MLS survey.”
The Panthers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tepper made his interest in the league known prior to purchasing the Panthers in July for $2.2 billion and hired Tom Glick, an executive with extensive soccer experience, as team president. Glick spent six years with City Football Group, which operates English Premier League team Manchester City. The Panthers held focus groups at a private marketing firm in South Charlotte in February to determine local interest.
Consideration of stadium renovations and an MLS expansion team would seem preliminary at this stage, given that both would likely have to be part of a long-term strategy. In the case of MLS, the league is deciding between St. Louis and Sacramento for its 28th club and has not made any announcements regarding if/when it will expand beyond 28 teams. Any future expansion process would likely be greeted with a competitive field, though the backing of a deep-pocked investor in Tepper could be one boost for Charlotte’s case.
In addition to questions surrounding MLS, there are also plenty of unknowns regarding what the Panthers will seek in potential Bank of America Stadium renovations. It is also worth noting that the team is in the midst of pursuing a new South Carolina practice facility/team headquarters, with state officials locked into a debate over the economics of the proposal.
Image of Bank of America Stadium courtesy Carolina Panthers.
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