It was an amazing home debut for Charlotte FC, setting an all-time MLS attendance record Saturday night, with 74,479 fans in the stands at a renovated Bank of America Stadium.
It’s an amazing accomplishment to set an all-time MLS attendance record in a debut. For Queen City soccer fans, it’s a sweet payoff for a process that began December 2019 when Panthers owner David Tepper was awarded an MLS expansion franchise and then launching renovations of the home of the NFL team.
The crowd breaks the all-time league record set by Atlanta United on Dec. 8, 2018, when 73,019 fans were on hand for the MLS Cup Final against the Portland Timbers. Charlotte also shattered the all-time regular-season record set on Aug. 3, 2019 by Atlanta United (of course!), when 72,548 fans were on hand at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Everyone was excited and completely united in getting behind the team,” fan Nikki Charlesworth told MLSsoccer.com. “I’ve never seen anything like it at Bank of America Stadium before. “From start to finish, there was a genuine feeling of being behind the team and everyone being in it together—that was obvious when the PA temporarily cut out during the National Anthem. The fans stepped in and everyone sang together.”
Such a large crowd is good news for MLS, as the league works to return to pre-COVID levels. Helping out in pushing these attendance figures: the three Canadian teams opened home schedules with fans in the stands, with Toronto FC drawing 25,174 fans, Vancouver Whitecaps drawing 18,643 and CF Montreal drawing 13,067 fans to Olympic Stadium. Last year almost every MLS opened to reduced capacities, but the Canadian teams operated under especially stifling circumstances. Healthy numbers north of the border is good for all.
Will the record stand? Technically, there are 74,867 seats at Bank of America Stadium, so in theory a full house could boost that record. The stated capacity at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for soccer is 73,019, so it would take a little work for Atlanta United to make a run at a record.