Soccer fans celebrate the announcement of a Major League Soccer team, owned by David Tepper, that will begin play Charlotte in 2021 at an event Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C.
Photo: Neil Redmond/AP
Photo: Neil Redmond/AP

What to call a derby between Atlanta United and the Charlotte Whats-its?

Charlotte received an MLS franchise Tuesday.

I hate to write that Charlotte was awarded an franchise because with an expansion fee of more than $300 million it seems more like received, bought or paid for is more appropriate.

That’s the way of professional sports, whose leagues consistently want to seem like they are doing municipalities favors with each of their decisions.

I digress.

Charlotte seems to have a committed owner in David Tepper, with enough money to build a solid foundation for an MLS franchise. It’s going to be fun to watch.

As part of the news bulletin from the league, it said the new franchise can possibly create an “I-85 Derby” with Atlanta United.

“I-85 Derby,” as a nickname stinks. It’s horrible.

Because it’s the offseason, I thought I’d take a crack at a few, hopefully more interesting, nicknames for the derby.

Hardware Derby
Home Depot, co-founded by Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank, started in Atlanta. Lowe’s started near Charlotte.

$250 million Derby
The approximate difference in expansion fees paid for by Blank ($75 million) in 2014 and Charlotte owner David Tepper ($325 million) sometime soon.

Uptown vs. Downtown Derby
Charlotte calls its downtown “Uptown” because it likes the positive connotation. Seriously.
Atlanta calls its downtown “Downtown” because that’s normal.

Queens vs. Kings Derby
Charlotte, oblivious to Cincinnati’s claim, also calls itself the Queen City.
Atlanta United calls itself the Kings of the South.

“You got NASCAR” Derby
Atlanta and Charlotte both wanted the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Charlotte got it. Atlanta went on and got the College Football Hall of Fame, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum. Still, the wound is fresh.

Our Rap vs. Theirs Derby
Atlanta has produced numerous fantastic rappers and groups. Charlotte has produced DaBaby.

Where’s Your Zoo Derby
Atlanta’s zoo is one of the best in the United States. Charlotte is the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. that doesn’t have a zoo.

Big Bird Derby
Charlotte has a statue known as the “Disco Chicken.” Metro Atlanta has the “Big Chicken,” and the Falcon statue outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Fast Food Derby
Charlotte gave to us the Cook Out fast-food chain. It’s awesome.
Atlanta gave to us Chick-fil-A. It’s also awesome.

Share some of your nicknames for this Derby with me at

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About the Author

Doug Roberson
Doug Roberson
Doug Roberson covers the Atlanta United and Major League Soccer.