Charlotte Observer reports Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is “is trying to catapult Charlotte to the front of Major League Soccer’s expansion line, promising a level of success matched by few MLS cities,” while chief operating officer Mark Hart says “this is now beyond talk. This is action.”

This is significant for obvious reasons, if you’ve been paying attention: 150 miles to the east, “prolific” Raleigh developer John Kane and North Carolina Football Club owner Steve Malik are pitching a soccer stadium in downtown Raleigh that would be funded with $300 million in Wake County tax dollars. Kane and Malik say an MLS franchise isn’t necessary to make the deal work, but let’s be real here.

Charlotte already has the stadium, which recently drew 60,000 fans for Gold Cup action, a strong indicator of the level of interest in the Queen City. Stay tuned.