Race track executive Marcus Smith on Tuesday submitted Charlotte’s bid for a Major League Soccer expansion team, amid questions about how much public money the proposal would receive.
Eleven other locations also submitted their own bids before Tuesday’s deadline for two of the league’s next expansion teams: Nashville, Tenn.; Indianapolis; Detroit; Phoenix; St. Louis; Raleigh, San Antonio; Cincinnati; Tampa Bay, Fla.; San Diego and Sacramento, Calif.
In a video submission to the MLS, Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, said an expansion team would be a “huge statement for Charlotte.”
“We’ve got a great NFL team, a great NBA team, this is the home of NASCAR, and we’ve got minor league baseball,” Smith said.
“My passion is to bring what we’ve learned after almost 60 years in the NASCAR business to Major League Soccer and really bring it to a whole new level to fans in MLS right here in Charlotte,” Smith said.
Last week, Mecklenburg County commissioners approved a plan to raze the county-owned Memorial Stadium and Grady Cole Center to make way for a new 20,000-seat stadium. The county agreed to spend $43.75 million on the $175 million project, and the Smiths will spend $12.5 million. Also as part of the plan, the Smiths will repay a loan to the county $4.25 million a year for 25 years.
Citing insufficient time to consider the proposal, Charlotte City Council opted not to vote on its proposed subsidy last week. Smith says he will still request funds from the city, though has not provided additional details.