17 Dec It’s finally here! Charlotte officially has a MLS team.
David Tepper and Major League Soccer (MLS) have officially announced that Charlotte will be home to the 30th expansion. Charlotte’s MLS team will see its first match in 2021, surprisingly fast for a new franchise, which means the team and its sponsors will hit the ground running to be ready in just over one year.
“AC&M Group is looking forward to the opportunity of working, learning and sharing our knowledge with the team and all of their partners,” said Vicente Navarro, VP of Business Development at AC&M Group. “It is by no surprise that Mr. Tepper and his team struck a deal with the MLS to bring a team to North Carolina. This place already offers so much, with the success of Division 1 soccer programs, a diverse fan base and the perfect climate for soccer.”
What does this mean for AC&M Group?
AC&M Group has long been established as a soccer marketing hub in the Charlotte area. Having executed successful campaigns with MLS, its teams and its corporate sponsors, AC&M Group has continued to show proven results in the soccer world. Once the announcement officially broke, our team was excited to say the least.
“Charlotte is our home. We are a soccer city and we are thrilled to finally have an MLS team in our backyard,” said Pacino Mancillas, Director of Strategic Partnerships. “At AC&M, soccer has been part of our DNA for more than 15 years. We have built some of the most successful soccer campaigns and we are ready to collaborate with the club, its sponsors and the City of Charlotte to contribute to the success of the new team.”
Charlotte needs to quickly capitalize on sponsorship opportunities, sales initiatives, and leverage the soccer fan base in the Queen City. We’re ready to help.
Where will the team play?
Home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and an annual college bowl game, Bank of America Stadium (BofA), which opened in 1996, currently seats over 75,000 fans. With Tepper’s request of $100 million from the city, improvements would include new locker rooms and a soccer-specific field entry. Tepper also suggested building a retractable-roof domed stadium, as originally reported by the Charlotte Business Journal (CBJ).
Adding a MLS club to this stadium illustrates Tepper’s dedication to use BofA stadium for more than football. He has already announced plans for concerts at the stadium, with Garth Brooks slated for 2020. Come soccer season, fans will have no issue commuting to the game or tailgating in the surrounding parking lots. Initial improvements and construction can be expected to begin once Charlotte’s city council approves Tepper’s request.
What are the ticket prices?
CBJ reported that Charlotte plans to model their ticket prices after Nashville SC, a club who accepted an MLS’ expansion bid in December of 2017 and is scheduled to play their first match in 2020. Season ticket prices for Nashville currently vary from $425 to $3,400, with top tier packages including concessions and parking. Each season ticket holder would pay anywhere from $200 to $25 per game over the course of a season.
Over 60 companies have announced their commitment to season long suites with total investment landing around $100,000 per year. Additionally, Ally Financial has committed to becoming the lead sponsor for the expansion club, with their logo proudly displayed on the front of all kits. More investment from major companies and brands are sure to make headlines in the coming year as the team gears up for its inaugural season.
Will there be a supporters group?
Following the model established by Arthur Blank and Atlanta United, Charlotte will look to create a fan base and supporters’ group in early 2020. Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant, said Charlotte needs to “create the fan club now so that you have a year or two or three to build up their interest and passion and have events for them.” From experience executing several watch parties and fan activation experiences with various soccer clients including SOCCER.COM, New Balance, World Soccer Shop and AC Milan, we know first-hand how event marketing is successful in creating fan awareness and growing fan engagement.
What will the team name be?
Although there has been no official word on the team name, local Charlotteans have suggested several options including Queen City FC, the Charlotte Buzz and Carolina Soccer Club. Most MLS clubs have stuck to the “City Name” plus “FC or United” model but as of now, the team name is up for grabs. One thing is for certain, regardless of the team name or the ticket price, AC&M Group will surely be at the front gate on opening day with face paint on and hearts full of support for this club.