North Carolina FC submits formal MLS bid
Posted January 31
Cary, N.C. — The North Carolina Football Club officially submitted a bid to join Major League Soccer on Tuesday, ahead of the deadline. It is the latest step toward intentions signaled months ago by team owner Steve Malik.
Since December, Malik has rebranded the team once known as the Carolina RailHawks, acquired the defending champions of the National Women’s Soccer League and begun lobbying for a new stadium.
“We have made incredible strides in just over a month since we received the MLS application information,” Malik said Tuesday. “We will continue to pursue our aggressive campaign by rallying the community behind our initiatives as we continue on our parallel paths of securing a new purpose-built stadium and expanding our corporate and individual membership.”
Raleigh-Durham is one of 10 finalist markets as MLS looks to expand in the coming years. Last week's decision by the Charlotte city council to pass on a vote that would fund a soccer stadium there apparently strengthens the Triangle position as the league looks to expand in the Southeast.
In its application, North Carolina FC highlighted the strong historical population growth in the Triangle. The Triangle ranks in the top five among all current MLS markets based on a population-per-professional franchise.
The club also touted its long standing relationship with Capitol Broadcasting Company, the parent company of WRAL News and WRAL SportsFan. Jimmy Goodmon, vice president of Capitol Broadcasting Company, is the chairman of the Triangle MLS Committee.
"The market is ready for an MLS team based on our geographical location, population growth, dynamic economic environment and significant soccer participation," Malik said in December. "MLS requires a minimum of 20,000 seats with amenities in order to maximize revenue, and a new stadium is vital to our plans as it would increase the economic impact in the area and allow us to better showcase the sport.”
The owner has been coy about where any new stadium would be built, but he has said that the stadium would not necessarily be in the City of Raleigh. The teams' current home, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, seats about 10,000 after an expansion in 2012.