Charlotte FC – The new Major League Soccer franchise broke the attendance record set by Atlanta United in 2018 when they hosted the MLS Cup at Mercedes-Benz stadium.
Charlotte FC hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy in their first home game in franchise history with a record-breaking crowd of 74,479 at the Bank of America Stadium on Saturday night. The new 28th expansion team broke the record established by Atlanta United when they hosted 73,019 fans in the 2018 MLS Cup final.
“Welcome to the largest party Charlotte has known,” Charlotte FC and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper said to the crowd moments before kickoff.
MLS Commissioner Dan Garber called it a historic night for the league. He said the crowd showed “there’s no limit to where our league can go.”
The team competes in Major League Soccer as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference. The team is owned by David Tepper, who was awarded the expansion franchise on December 17, 2019. In the 2022 MLS season, they began to play as the league’s 28th franchise. Charlotte FC plays at Bank of America Stadium, which it shares with the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.
Charlotte is now the sixth club in MLS to share its home stadium with the city’s NFL counterpart (along with Atlanta United, the New England Revolution, the Chicago Fire, Nashville SC and the Seattle Sounders), and the third team to be housed under the same ownership, joining Atlanta and New England.
The addition of Charlotte FC gives the league ten new teams since 2015, with St. Louis FC set to join the league starting in 2023.
“Our target of eclipsing 74,000 (tickets) hasn’t changed,” said Nick Kelly, chief executive officer of Charlotte FC ownership group Tepper Sports & Entertainment. “But we feel confident with already having passed the league record. Now it’s just more of a personal goal.”
The club signed its first player, Spanish midfielder Sergio Ruiz, from Racing Santander on July 8, 2020; he was immediately loaned out to UD Las Palmas for 18 months, with an expected arrival in Charlotte in January 2022. Spanish manager Miguel Angel Ramirez was hired as the team’s first head coach in July 2021. Charlotte FC signed its first Designated Player, Polish forward Karol Swiderski, on January 26, 2022. Joe LaBue, a Carolina Panthers sales executive, was appointed club president in February 2022 to replace Glick after his departure.
Charlotte FC played their first MLS regular season match on February 26, 2022, losing 3–0 to D.C. United at Audi Field. The club’s home debut at Bank of America Stadium played against the LA Galaxy on March 5. It ended in a 1–0 loss for Charlotte FC.