No, Really: It's Time to Strike.
(Photo: MCC Facebook)
by Zack Luttrell
Mint City Collective came out of the gates strong.
We put together a great leadership team to work through creating a brand that was unique to Charlotte culture, highlighting the historical significance of the city’s financial past while meshing with our current state as one of the largest banking hubs in the county.
We launched our membership packages and currently sit close to 300 members. Pretty solid for minimal effort and nothing tangible yet – just the idea of a possible franchise.
We’ve had our first open forum meeting, which many of you attended and gave some good feedback and ideas for what you’d like to see in a supporters' group for a Charlotte MLS franchise.
Now it’s time to turn those ideas into action. We’ve been using #TimeToStrike since MCC’s inception, but now, it really is time to strike. Let me tell you why.
If you read the tea leaves and listen to the clues that are out there, including Garber's speech last night, it seems almost certain that Charlotte is going to be awarded the 30th MLS franchise. Longtime hopefuls St. Louis and Sacramento have solidified their spots as the 28th and 29th teams, respectively. There have been some talks about other cities in the running, but let’s be serious – none of those cities are in as good of a position as Charlotte. Garber didn't discuss any other options in-depth either.
The main reasons we're in such a good spot? First, we have an owner who can go to a local branch of Ally Bank (see what I did there?) and pull out the necessary $300M expansion franchise fee in cash. And second, we have a stadium that can easily be retrofitted to allow a new team to begin play as early as 2021.
Yes, you read that correctly. The MLS needs another team to start in 2021. Miami and Nashville join in 2020, bringing the 24-team league to 26. With the addition of Austin FC in 2021 as the 27th team, the league will be at an imbalance with an odd number of teams, something they'd surely like to avoid. Logistical problems such as byes every weekend and an uneven number of teams in each conference are easy to avoid: Bringing in Charlotte in 2021 fixes all that.
So stick with that theory and couple it with the recent information that's been coming out, and it seems very realistic – heck, almost likely – that not only will Charlotte be awarded a franchise, but we are also just fourteen months away from a Charlotte team playing its first-ever match in Bank of America Stadium.
Read that last sentence again.
It might be only fourteen months until we’re getting together for the first-ever MLS supporters' group march to the stadium. The Mint City "March Down Mint," if you will. Fourteen months until we fill a supporters' section in our stadium. Fourteen months until we raise our first-ever tifo. Fourteen months until we sing and dance and celebrate our new MLS club in our own city.
Fourteen months. It’s time to strike.