EXCLUSIVE: Major League Soccer (MLS) is one of the fastest growing sports leagues in the U.S. and it’s now getting its own reality TV treatment.
Mark Burnett and MGM Television have teamed up with the booming soccer league and its newest expansion team Charlotte FC for reality competition series Welcome To The Team (w/t).
The project, currently in development, will shine a spotlight into the journey of a group of players from around the globe as they compete for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the team, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, ahead of its debut season in 2022.
Charlotte FC is owned by David Tepper and is part of Tepper Sports & Entertainment, which also includes Bank of America Stadium and the Carolina Panthers.
The team will include players such as Premier League Champion and former Leicester City player Christian Fuchs, Spanish midfielder Sergio Ruiz, Polish defender Jan Sobocinski, Uruguayan defender Guzman Corujo and U.S. pair Adam Armour and Brandt Bronico. It will be managed by former Internacional manager Miguel Angel Ramirez.
The series will provide 24/7 access as the players live and train together while being put to the test to prove they have what it takes to become part of the club’s inaugural roster. The group of players will be scouted and selected by Charlotte FC, led by the club’s Sporting Director Zoran Krenta. Krenta will also lead a panel of judges alongside Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly, and a rotating panel of soccer legends and celebrity fans, who will evaluate the footballers throughout the series. Based on the results, players will be eliminated from consideration at the end of episodes before a group of finalists reach the season finale where one player will be awarded a spot to play for Charlotte FC.
MGM’s Mark Burnett and Barry Poznick will serve as executive producers on the series, which comes to market as the success of Apple’s Ted Lasso puts soccer further into frame.
It is the latest non-scripted series being developed by the producer behind Survivor, The Voice and Shark Tank – Burnett and his team are also working on a reboot of American Gladiators.
“With unparalleled access to top athletes trying to earn a spot on a major league sports team, Welcome To The Team (w/t) will be the definitive sports competition series,” said MGM’s Worldwide Television Chairman Mark Burnett.
Barry Poznick, President of Unscripted Television and Orion Television at MGM, added, “Putting competitors through their paces is something we have done for survivors, singers and entrepreneurs. Now we are working with Major League Soccer and Charlotte FC to showcase professional soccer players who will stop at nothing to prove they have what it takes to be the last athlete standing.”
“Major League Soccer is excited about this innovative project to introduce our newest club to MLS fans, and to do it with MGM, one of the biggest names in reality television, only adds to the opportunity” said Seth Bacon, MLS SVP, Media. “We believe this program will showcase MLS to new fans and provide our existing fans an even closer look at our league and players.”
“At Charlotte FC, we’re very invested in providing soccer players across the world the opportunity to be part of a great organization where they can grow and develop as professionals,” added Charlotte FC Owner David Tepper. “By working with MGM Television and Major League Soccer to be the first MLS club featured in this new and groundbreaking series, we’re bringing soccer fans in the United States closer to “the beautiful game” that we’re playing in the Carolinas, with different and exclusive content delivered in a way that has never been done before.”
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