Charlotte already hosts a number of major sporting events each year. There are the NASCAR races – of course, and Panthers and Bobcat games. But later this summer the city may briefly be home to two of the best professional soccer teams in the world.
We say may – because the official announcement won't be made until Tuesday morning. But international Soccer blogs and the U.K.’s Daily Mirror are reporting that Manchester City and Liverpool will play a match at Bank of America Stadium in early August.
And just in case you think soccer is – at best – a game for 9 year olds, well Kristian Pedersen and his patrons will tell you you're wrong. Pedersen owns the soccer bar "Courtyard Hooligans" in uptown. He believes Bank of America stadium will sell out and tens of thousands of additional fans will be waiting outside for tickets.
Pedersen's bar already sees strong support for international soccer. They open at 7:45 a.m. on Saturdays so eager fans can watch English Premier League games live. And Hooligans is often packed. Especially when the match features top tier talent, something Manchester City and Liverpool both do. Liverpool is second in the number of championships won. And Man City has a player payroll of well over a billion dollars. Yes…with a B.
Both clubs are taking part in the 2014 International Cup, an eight team tournament that also features teams from Spain, Italy, Germany and Greece. And all the matches will be played at American Stadiums. Rumors are Denver, Phoenix, Dallas and Washington D.C. will also host matches.
This tournament comes just after the world cup ends…and it’s effectively a “pre-season” game for European soccer teams. So their top players may or may not take part.
But a solid showing by fans and the city may help land an American Major League Soccer team by 2020. The owner of Charlotte’s professional Lacrosse team is trying to do just that.