New Charlotte FC president is a pro at marketing and beer

Dec. 14—Charlotte FC is getting a new team president. Nick Kelly will fill that role, transitioning from his position as the sports marketing chief of Anheuser-Busch InBev to Charlotte’s Major League Soccer expansion team, according to a source familiar with the team’s hiring decisions.

Per Sports Business Journal, which first reported the hire, Kelly will report to Tepper Sports & Entertainment president Tom Glick, who has overseen the club’s development since the team was announced last December. Charlotte FC is set to begin play in 2022, joining MLS as its 28th club after Austin FC debuts in the league next season.

Charlotte FC and MLS announced over the summer that the expansion club would delay its start by one year due to the pandemic, ideally allowing a greater number of fans back at Bank of America Stadium for the team’s inaugural season. The delay has also allowed more time for player scouting and team personnel decisions, with Kelly being the latest addition to Charlotte FC’s staff.

Kelly has worked on sports marketing for Anheuser-Busch since 2014, cultivating relationships between the multinational brewing company and professional sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and NASCAR. He has also helped develop A-B campaigns for soccer events such as the World Cup.

Kelly previously worked in Charlotte as a communications manager for NASCAR from 2011 to 2014. He will return to the Queen City for soccer, joining a Charlotte FC staff that includes Tepper Sports & Entertainment (TSE) owner David Tepper, TSE president Glick and sporting director Zoran Krneta.

The club has signed just two players so far — attacking midfielder Riley McGree and midfielder Sergio Ruiz.

Krneta spoke about the team leadership’s methodical hiring process and told the Observer in October that they are targeting the end of the summer to hire a head coach.

Charlotte FC’s technical staff includes multiple individuals with connections to the Seattle Sounders, including technical director Marc Nicholls, academy manager Dan Lock and U14 academy coach Mark Simpson. The Sounders reached the finals of this year’s MLS Cup, losing to the Columbus Crew 3-0 Saturday to close the 2020 season.

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