Charlotte FC has set a new attendance record for Major League Soccer after 74,479 fans watched its first-ever home game against LA Galaxy at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday.
The figure surpasses the 73,019 which attended the 2018 MLS Cup match between Atlanta United and Portland Timbers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
This season marks Charlotte FC’s first in MLS and the team is sharing Bank of America Stadium with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Saturday saw the stadium debut $50m (£38m/€46m) worth of upgrades, including a new 211-foot-wide single LED screen.
A pre-game light show was held at the stadium to mark its first MLS game. Charlotte FC fell to a 1-0 defeat against LA Galaxy but the team’s coaching staff and fans praised the atmosphere on a record-breaking night at Bank of America Stadium.
“We play football because we want to win… but today, I believe I am the happiest coach in the world,” head coach Miguel Ramírez said. “It was amazing. I cannot describe in words the energy and I would like to thank everyone who joined us in this party, it really was a party.
“Even though we didn’t win, we will continue the party. My request is that I would like to see all of them [the fans] back.”
MLS commissioner Don Garber also praised Charlotte FC for breaking the league’s attendance record.
David and Nicole Tepper had a bold vision and big expectations, and @CharlotteFC overdelivered. The club set a new MLS attendance record and had the largest soccer crowd in the world today. Thank you to all of the passionate soccer fans in the Carolinas! pic.twitter.com/h4irKXbx6O
— Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) March 6, 2022
Atlanta United had also held the MLS regular-season attendance record after 72,548 fans watched its home match against LA Galaxy on August 3, 2019. Atlanta United shares Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Charlotte was awarded an MLS franchise in 2019. The team had been due to enter MLS last season but its debut was delayed due to COVID-19.
Charlotte FC is still waiting for its first point, and goal, in MLS after losing its opening game 3-0 at D.C. United.
Image: Carol M Highsmith/CC0 1.0/Edited for size