Charlotte FC, the newest Major League Soccer expansion franchise in its inaugural season, is set to break the league’s attendance record after playing just one match. The club has sold 73,500 tickets for its first-ever home match on Saturday against the LA Galaxy.
“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.”
Atlanta United, which similarly plays at a stadium shared with their city’s NFL franchise, held the regular season single-match attendance record with 72,548 fans set in 2019, as well as the MLS Cup and postseason attendance record with 73,019 fans set in 2018. Charlotte FC will play its home games in Uptown Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium.
The venue, which seats 74,867 fans and recently underwent a $50 million renovation project in preparation to host MLS matches and other entertainment events, hasn’t yet hit its sellout capacity for the first Charlotte FC home game. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster.
Kelly also said that there will be around 100 tickets available for walk-up purchase at the stadium starting at 1 p.m. Saturday for $30. Those tickets are single-seat tickets in the upper-level area, and no more than four tickets can be purchased at a time.
Charlotte FC debuted last weekend against D.C. United in a 3-0 loss in Washington, D.C. Despite the loss, fervor for the team’s launch has remained strong. More than 300 Charlotte FC supporters traveled for that D.C. match, and Kelly said that the club has sold more than 3,300 season tickets in the supporters section, among the largest in MLS.
“It kind of reinforces everything we always thought, which is that this is truly a huge soccer market and that the growing fanbase for the team would show up by the time we hit our first match,” Kelly said. “I think even with all the challenges we’ve faced over the last two years that Saturday should prove that there is a very promising future for soccer here in Charlotte.”
Kelly told The Observer that the club has sold more than 20,000 season tickets. Charlotte FC is aiming to average 30,000 fans at its home matches over the course of the inaugural season.