USL’s Charlotte Independence interested in MLS move

Charlotte Independence USL

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
USL Writer

Charlotte Independence founder and former Charlotte Bobcats executive Jim McPhilliamy is interested in bringing first division soccer to Charlotte, North Carolina with a move towards MLS.

McPhilliamy spoke with a local Charlotte public radio station WFAE about his intentions and the model that has been set by previous teams like Orlando City to reach that goal.

“Our goal is to get to MLS,” said McPhilliamy when speaking to Ben Bradford. “Nobody in our investment group expects that we’re going to take money out as a USL team. Everything will get reinvested into making MLS.”

MLS has become the goal for many second and third division teams with Orlando City coming up this season and NASL side Minnesota United set to join in upcoming seasons. Other teams like the Sacramento Republic FC and San Antonio Scorpions have expressed interest in departing from their current league to join MLS. The USSF designated first division is in a prime negotiating position having signed an eight-year $720 million television contract split between ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision.

“I think that’s exactly the model we’re trying to do,” said McPhilliamy when speaking on the strategy and target audience. “As you look at the growth of this area, the millennials are a coveted group. As you saw from just the limited number of people who are out here tonight, soccer delivers on that millennials consumer group.”

Charlotte is no stranger to professional sports teams. The Hornets, old and new, have found a solid professional sports fanbase in the region. The NFL Carolina Panthers ,who are also located in the area, have proven that a market like Charlotte is more than capable of luring top talent in a sport to stay for the betterment of the fanbase. Soccer seems like the next logical step and the Independence are poised to continue the trend of promotion from the USL.