Charlotte's MLS bid in limbo after City Council cancels stadium vote

Memorial Stadium - Charlotte

Charlotte’s proposed plan for an MLS stadium is in limbo after the Charlotte City Council canceled a vote on its part of a deal to replace the city's Memorial Stadium.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners had voted 5-3 on Thursday to approve the plan, which would’ve seen the county and city both contribute $43.75 million to the stadium. According to the Charlotte Observer, the county, which owns the stadium site, would finance another $75 million of the team’s share of costs, to be reimbursed over 25 years. The total estimated cost of the stadium is $175 million.

The City Council was scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the plan on Friday morning, but it was announced that they'd cancelled both just moments after the county’s decision to approve their share of the proposal.

"The City Council is interested in a future opportunity to pursue Major League Soccer with more information and time to allow for interactive dialogue with the community and appropriate due diligence on our part," Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said in a statement.

Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports is the leader of Charlotte’s MLS bid. A Speedway Motorsports spokesperson said in an email to the Charlotte Observer that it’s “TBD” whether or not the bid will move forward without the $43.75 million from the city. If Smith’s group chooses to proceed with the bid, they have until Jan. 31 to submit their expansion application to MLS.

Charlotte was acknowledged by the league in December as one of 10 markets vying for four expansion spots. The league will select two new expansion clubs in 2017, with those teams set to begin MLS play by 2020. Two more teams, taking the league to 28 total clubs, will be announced at a later date.