This year there's been a lot of talk and even some action taken toward bringing new sports teams to Charlotte. The argument for doing so is that our metropolitan area is one of the fast-growing in the U.S. Those against the idea say that Charlotte doesn't have enough people yet to consistently fill another stadium's seats through an entire season.
At the major league level, we already have the Panthers and Hornets. Our minor league teams include the Knights, Checkers, Independence, and Hounds. Would Charlotteans support more teams or a step up to the big leagues with pricier tickets? With sports, that's always the key question: Is there enough public interest for a new team?
Charlotte Motor Speedway owners Bruton and Marcus Smith have been the driving force behind establishing a Major League Soccer franchise in Charlotte. Their plan calls for building a new stadium on the site of Memorial Stadium near uptown. The Smiths even had a chance to court visiting MLS executives over the summer.
They did hit a roadblock with the city government's reluctance to contribute public funds for stadium construction, but hope is still alive for local soccer fans. Charlotte's economic development committee will continue to discuss the matter at their meeting on September 14th.
Rick Curti knows a thing or two about the challenges of launching a new sports team. He is the man behind a grassroots effort to attract a Major League Baseball franchise to Charlotte. Curti's dream of seeing his proposed Charlotte Bats play got a boost in July when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned Charlotte as one of three possible expansion cities.
BB&T Ballpark, the uptown home of the Charlotte Knights, is a true gem that has led the minor leagues in attendance since it opened. Unfortunately, it was not designed to allow the addition of more seats so a new stadium would have to be built. Rick Curti recently suggested the site of the demolished Eastland Mall as an option.
What do you think? Is Charlotte big enough for a another major league team, and would your family buy tickets for the games?