• Source: Panthers owner wants MLS team in Charlotte by end of year

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After years of speculation and attempts, Charlotte may finally be close to landing an MLS franchise, which is something Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has been talking about almost since the moment he bought the team.

    [Expansion brings new hope for groups trying to lure MLS to Charlotte]

    Sources told anchor Allison Latos on Wednesday night that Tepper is expected to make a pitch to MLS soon and that he wants a team in Charlotte by the end of the year.

    Sources said Charlotte is competing with St. Louis and Sacramento.

    Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday night that the city's bid is strengthened by Tepper's wealth and the fact that Charlotte already has the Bank of America Stadium ready to go.

    Tepper has repeatedly said he wants an MLS team in Charlotte, and he hired team president Tom Glick, who has run English soccer teams and launched an MLS team in 2015.

    In a statement to Sports Illustrated, Glick said he's met with the league and, "we’re now in a position to say that this is going to work incredibly well, and we can play earlier or later to best suit their needs."

    The magazine said a meeting with the league's expansion committee is set for next month.

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    The league has already voted to expand to 30 teams, which means three new cities.

    An expansion fee to join the league could be as high as $200 million.

    Charlotte tried to get an MLS team in 2017, but failed in its bid.

    The plan included knocking down the city's historic Memorial Stadium and replacing it with a new soccer stadium, but the city and county wouldn't commit to funding.

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