Save the date: Charlotte FC’s inaugural home match is March 5

Save the date: Charlotte FC’s inaugural home match is March 5

Charlotte FC office. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

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Charlotte FC will play LA Galaxy in its inaugural home match on March 5 at 8pm.

Less than two months from preseason, fans have a date to mark on their calendars as the club kicks off its first season. The match will be nationally televised, but that part of the deal is TBD.

  • The inaugural regular season match will take place on the road.
  • Charlotte’s full schedule is expected in mid-December.

What they’re saying: Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez said the Galaxy is the club everyone abroad talks about when they talk about Major League Soccer.

Why it matters: The MLS expansion franchise had to wait an extra year to kick off because of the pandemic, and the city hasn’t added any major league team since the Carolina Panthers in the 1990s.

Tickets: Upper deck tickets for the home opener go on sale to the general public on Monday, Nov. 22, starting at $15,  and season ticket holders will be able to purchase tickets starting Nov. 18.

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  • Charlotte FC president Nick Kelly told Axios that $15 tickets are their follow through on promising affordable viewing options.
  • Of note: The club saw backlash over the high price of their season tickets. They are also the first MLS team to include a personal seat license fee.
  • “There will be affordable prices to all of our matches,” Kelly said. “Season tickets are kind of just a different beast.”

By the numbers: Charlotte hopes to have over 74,000 fans in attendance against the Galaxy.

  • The stadium holds 74,867, giving Charlotte room to break the league’s regular-season attendance record of 72,548, which is held by Atlanta United.
  • Kelly said they are on pace to exceed 20,000 season ticket holders, but declined to give a firm update beyond surpassing 15,000.
  • “Big clubs are made by the fans,” Ramirez said.

Uniform update: Kelly said they will hold an event prior to Christmas to unveil the inaugural kit.

💭 My thought bubble: When you hear LA Galaxy, you may think David Beckham, the English player who brought star power to MLS from 2007-2012. I begged my parents for a No. 23 Galaxy jersey, and I still have it.

Away from home: Charlotte FC, like the Panthers before them, will have ties to Clemson (the Panthers played their inaugural season in 1995 in South Carolina).

  • Charlotte FC’s preseason kicks off at Clemson in mid-January, and the team expects to train in two other markets before returning home .

Changes at home: A $50 million renovation began this March at Bank of America Stadium, adding soccer-specific locker rooms, a central player tunnel, The Vault (a premium club space), field-level seats, East Gate and main concourse updates, a supporters’ bar inside the gate and more camera positions for television broadcasts.

  • Kelly said construction will pick up after the Panthers season ends, because they won’t have to worry about interfering with the game day experience.
  • They are currently putting the finishing touches on player-specific elements, like the locker room, as well as the East Gate, whose progress has been visible as you drive along South Mint Street.
  • “They’ll be open and ready to roll for the first match, and that was the most important piece,” Kelly said. “We didn’t want to kind of have phased approach to this. We want to make sure that the first game is what you can expect every game.”

Of note: MLS Commissioner Don Garber has frequently praised Bank of America Stadium’s central location, which he said earlier this year will help drive Charlotte’s success.

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