Major League Soccer awarded a franchise to play in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier today, making it the 30th team in MLS. According to Commissioner Don Garber, this will likely be the last franchise awarded, at least for the time being. Garber went on to tout the potential financial growth of the league, no doubt justifying a record transfer fee of $325 million. Yet the 28th and 29th teams to be awarded franchises in the past couple of months, St. Louis and Sacramento, paid just $200 million. Has the value of the MLS as a league risen by 35% in the past two months? Or 65 times the original franchise fee of $5 million that investors paid in 1996 when the MLS began operations?
In purchasing an MLS franchise in Charlotte, David Tepper has touted the fact that seven million people live within an hour and a half drive of the Queen City, there are no major league teams that play in the city during the summer months, and he stated that the city has a fairly large Hispanic population that is not served by the other available sports.