North Carolina FC will step up its aggressive bid to land a Major League Soccer expansion spot next week by unveiling plans for a new $1.9bn stadium complex in downtown Raleigh.
Steve Malik, owner and chairman of the United Soccer League Championship team, is partnering with local developer John Kane to build a 20,000-seat multipurpose stadium and accompanying mixed-use development facility.
Full details will be unveiled at a press conference on June 25.
“Having an urban stadium with great highway access and with entertainment options surrounding it will strengthen our bid,” Malik told WRAL TechWire.
In April, MLS unveiled plans to boost its long-term expansion target from a prior goal of 28 teams to 30. It is widely assumed that Sacramento and St Louis will gain the next two expansion places, paying an increased entry fee of $200m, to join confirmed forthcoming league entries of Miami, Nashville, and Austin in the next two years.
This would leave just one spot open as things stand, with North Carolina FC competing with the likes of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Detroit and Charlotte. The timetable of entry and expansion fee for the 30th team are yet to be determined.
North Carolina FC and sister team North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League currently play at the 10,000-seater WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.