Charlotte CEO: A Publicly Funded MLS Stadium Can Heal Racial Division After Police Brutality

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Charlotte’s latest plan to apply for an MLS team includes $87.5 million in public funding, along with a $75 million loan from the county.

The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County would each take on $43.75 million of the proposed $175 million stadium, according to the Charlotte Observer. On top of that, the county would loan $75 million for “team costs” that would be paid back over the course of 25 years.


While this isn’t quite as much public funding as was required in a previous plan brought to county commissioners this month—which asked for $50 million each from the city and the county—it’s no small cost. But according to the CEO of a local group pushing for the stadium, that’s fine, because spending tens of millions of taxpayer money on a soccer team is a way for the city to move forward from racial division and police brutality.

Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, connected the stadium plan to last September’s fatal police shooting of city resident Keith Lamont Scott and the protests that followed:    

“This is a $175 million public project,” said Smith. “We as a city were changed last September ... This is an opportunity for us to have a really large investment and think through how do we do it differently?”


He attempted to back up that statement by adding that the stadium project could have opportunities for “worker apprenticeships or greater minority-owned business participation,” as paraphrased by the Observer. Smith went on to say that “landing an MLS franchise is nothing short of the the defining accomplishment of our generation.”

County commissioners will vote on the plan next Thursday, while the city will hold a closed session to discuss the budget next Monday.

[Charlotte Observer]