City's Major League Soccer Team Will Be Charlotte FC
Updated 3:07 p.m.
It's been a long wait for fans, but Charlotte's Major League Soccer team finally has a name: Charlotte Football Club, or Charlotte FC for short. The team colors will be black, blue and white. The logo bears a crown, and the slogan "Minted in 2022," both nods to icons of Charlotte's name and past.
The club owned by Carolina Panthers' owner David Tepper made the announcement Wednesday morning in a show broadcast on the web and social media.
"It's an exciting day, for sure," Tepper said via video. "This is real, this is happening, COVID or no-COVID."
Club president Tom Glick said fans were at the heart of the decision.
"They've helped us understand what they think the name should be and why and how our marks can best represent the rich history of Charlotte and its booming and building ambition for the future," Glick said in the video announcement.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Glick said the name was the clear fan favorite.
"Charlotte Football Club, Charlotte FC, CLT FC - we'll go by all of these - really stood out as the leader by a longshot in terms of what not only the whole sample of citizens and fans wanted, but there was a clear preference from soccer fans in the city and the region for this name," Glick said.
Debut Season Delayed a Year
Major League Soccer awarded the expansion franchise to Charlotte last December. The team was supposed to start playing next spring. But the team and the league announced last week that they'll delay their kickoff until spring 2022.
The league is giving three franchises more time to hire staff, assemble teams and complete stadiums. Charlotte still has soccer-related improvements to make at Bank of America Stadium, where it will play home games.
"We're going to be more prepared, with this little delay, than we ever would have been," Tepper said during Wednesday's announcement. "We're gonna have a better experience and I think we'll have a lot more time to make sure we have a better team from the get-go."
St. Louis and Sacramento, which were supposed to start playing in 2022, also will push their starts back by a year, to 2023. Meanwhile, Austin FC, in Texas, will debut on schedule next year. MLS Commissioner Don Garber last week blamed the delays on challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Garber joined Wednesday's online event, where he said fans have already shown enthusiastic support by reserving about 25,000 season tickets - though he'd like to see that doubled.
"Let's fill that stadium when that stadium opens for MLS in 2022. You know, buy merchandise, wear that brand, tweet about it, put it on your Instagram accounts. Do some cool TicTok stuff with it to create all the sustainable energy and build momentum behind this really, really exciting announcement," Garber said.
And they've already started with the merchandising. The team store is selling everything from shirts and scarves to beer koozies and face masks.
Meanwhile, all those fans who have already put down $50, $75 or $100 deposits will be asked to choose their seats this fall.
Eight Options for the Name
The name was picked from among a list of eight that first became public in December in filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:
- Charlotte FC (for football club)
- Charlotte Crown FC
- Charlotte Fortune FC
- Charlotte Monarchs FC
- Charlotte Athletic FC
- Charlotte Town FC
- Carolina Gliders FC
- All Carolina FC
In social media teasers in recent days, the club crossed All Carolina, Charlotte Fortune and Charlotte Monarchs off the list.
The City of Charlotte has pledged incentives to the team, including $110 million in tourism tax dollars. There's still no firm plan for the money, but the club plans millions of dollars in soccer related improvements at Bank of America Stadium. It's also in discussions with the city over constructing a headquarters and training facility on the site of the old Eastland Mall.
On Wednesday, Glick declined to talk about the status of those negotiations. But he did say the team is looking for temporary headquarters while it decides.
We have a couple of options that we're looking at for this first home, if you will, for the for the team to train until we move into a permanent place and we're not ready to announce that ... because we haven't made a final selection in terms of where that would be. But we we have some great options," Glick said.
More information about Charlotte FC can be found on its website, www.charlottefootballclub.com.
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