With its inaugural season rapidly approaching, Charlotte Football Club last month hired the first Chief Fan Officer in MLS history. Shawn McIntosh will help foster and develop the club’s growing fan base.
McIntosh built a career by helping to develop organizations off the field, holding positions with teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLS and AHL before joining Charlotte FC. He has experience at every level of sports management, and still holds a passion for what makes sports special: community. “It’s really the people that matter, in any situation,” he says.
As a founding partner of Charlotte FC, Ally not only had the privilege of helping to scout McIntosh, but will also enjoy working closely with him to support and develop a deeper passion for soccer in the Charlotte community.
McIntosh took some time out of his schedule to talk with us about his new role.
Tell us about your role as Chief Fan Officer
My job [as CFO] is not to be a fan, my job is to listen and communicate with the fan base and then bring that knowledge back to club leadership to make sure their voices are heard. I hope to use my sports knowledge and my sports business knowledge, to push boundaries in order to develop a fanbase that is thriving and knows that they are valued.
What are you hearing from fans about what they want to see?
Fans want to see a matchday experience, from tailgating through the match itself, that is full of energy and creates a strong homefield advantage. MexTour in late October showed us that the Carolinas are ready to create that party atmosphere.
The club’s kit is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. What do you think it should look like?
I love our color palette, so as long as our blue has a dominant presence on our primary, I’ll be happy. As we start creating traditions, I’d like to find ways to incorporate those traditions into future kits.
After officially landing the team, Charlotte FC Owner David Tepper memorably said, “It’s time to party.” What does the perfect pregame party entail in your opinion?
I think the perfect pregame party is one that runs through the game and not just pregame. Pregame tailgating can be enhanced with music acts and DJs. I hope we can create an atmosphere in game that supports the “party vibe” post tailgate, too.
When fans unveil the first tifo at the inaugural match, what do you envision being on it?
I’d love to see us use a combination of stunt cards and a pull up a tifo to create a memorable choreography. I think the first one should represent the Carolinas as we announce ourselves to the soccer world.
What is one goal top of mind as you go through the next five months to kickoff?
I’d like our supporters’ groups to create a “wow moment” and announce themselves by showing up in full force at another sporting or public event to give the Carolinas a taste of what is to come.