City of Charlotte Cancels $175 Million Major League Soccer Deal in Elizabeth Neighborhood

rendering of the new MLS stadium
rendering of the new MLS stadium

Tensions ran high this week as the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg county moved closer and closer to approving the new $175 million MLS stadium contract, which would essentially replace Memorial Stadium and the Grady Cole Center in Elizabeth and bring a Major League Soccer team to our city for the first time in history.

The deal called for the city and county to each give $43.75 million to Marcus Smith and his team, with another $75 million being financed by the county, to be paid back over the next 25 years.

Proponents of the deal argued that joining the league would add Charlotte to a growing, international soccer community, increase development around the new stadium, and attract more talent into an increasingly globalized city.

Those who protested the deal said the process was rushed and incomplete, and many asked why a billionaire family should get nearly $120 million of county money while other county needs were being ignored. Many people also felt that Memorial Stadium needs to be preserved as a historical landmark in our city.
Yesterday morning, Mecklenburg County commissioners voted 5-3 Thursday to approve the deal, but moments later, the City of Charlotte announced that it was shutting down the deal:

“We are canceling the City Council Friday 4 p.m. meeting scheduled to discuss the MLS deal. Over the past several days, we have been discussing this opportunity, and while this is very promising, it is clear that we are not prepared to move forward at this time on the current soccer proposal.

“The Council is interested in a future opportunity to pursue Major League Soccer with more information and time to allow for interactive dialogue with the community and appropriate due diligence on our part.

“Any major decision we make needs to be considered as part of the bigger picture as we serve our entire community. Continued partnerships with sports positively impacts many of the initiatives we are working on, and we need to be diligent in planning a future where everyone wins. We very much look forward to continued discussions.”

How do you feel about the new stadium deal? 

Do you think the city should have moved forward with it? 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!