BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte)
|Location||424 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28202
|Broke ground||September 14, 2012|
|Opened||March 22, 2014|
|Operator||Knights Baseball, LLC|
|Construction cost||$54 million|
|Architect||Odell Associates, Inc.|
|Services engineer||Smith Seckman Reid, Inc.|
|General contractor||Barton Malow/R. J. Leeper/Rodgers|
|Field size||Left field: 330 feet (100 m)
Center field:400 feet (120 m)
Right Field:300 feet (91 m)
|Charlotte Knights (IL) (2014-present)|
An Uptown stadium for the Knights had been a long-running saga in Charlotte, occasionally the subject of contentious debate. Since the dawn of the new millennium, the Knights had consistently been last in the International League in terms of attendance while playing at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The old stadium was located 15 minutes south of Charlotte, and many fans were unwilling to brave the infamous traffic on Interstate 77 to get there. Additionally, it was outdated; it had been built in 1989, before the wave of new ballpark construction.
The project had been repeatedly blocked by Jerry Reese, a Charlotte lawyer who claims the land swap is illegal. Reese has ambitions to move a Major League Baseball team to Charlotte and views a Triple-A sized stadium for the Knights as a detriment.
In August 2006 the stadium became the source of more debate, as Mecklenburg County commission chairman Parks Helms said he would stall an arts project until the Charlotte City Council looked at a proposal he backed to bring baseball to Uptown.
Furthermore, it could expand the Atlantic Coast Conference's plans to return the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Tournament to Charlotte. The ACC tournament had been held at Knights Stadium until the NCAA's ban on South Carolina having predetermined championships took effect because of NAACP pressure in relation to the boycott of the state by the organization.
On April 23, 2012, it was announced that BB&T acquired the naming rights for the new ballpark. The terms of the deal were undisclosed and the ballpark will be officially referred to as BB&T Ballpark indefinitely.
The stadium features a two-level club with skyline views as well as a VIP, climate-controlled club with full service bar. In total, there are 975 club seats and 22 luxury suites at the ballpark.
It is thought to be slightly friendlier to hitters than typical minor-league parks. Knights general manager Scotty Smith said that due to the limited lot size, the foul lines are a few feet shorter than minor-league guidelines.
- Bethea, April (September 14, 2012). "Knights Break Ground on Stadium to Bring Baseball Back to Charlotte". The Charlotte Observer. p. 1B. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Davidow, Brandon; Adams, Rance (March 22, 2014). "Annual Media Softball Game Kicks off BB&T Ballpark". WCCB (Charlotte). Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- "Charlotte Knights Uptown Baseball Stadium". Odell Associates, Inc. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
- "BB&T Park". Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
- DePriest, Joe (March 8, 2014). "Hundreds Turn Out at New BB&T Ballpark to Buy Knights Single-Game Tickets". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Lakso, Scott (2014-04-10). "BB&T Ballpark: How will Charlotte Knights' new home play?". The Charlotte Observer.
- Lyttle, Steve (April 23, 2012). "BB&T, Knights Agree on Uptown Ballpark Rights". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- "Attorneys Argue Baseball Land Swap Lawsuit In Union County". WSOC (Charlotte). April 30, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
- Spanberg, Erik (February 6, 2006). "A Major League Income Shortfall". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
- Levine, Carrie; Brown, Steven; LaCour, Greg (August 25, 2006). "Proposal Links New Stadium, Arts Tax, Helms' Plan Has Some Backing on Board, and Sharp Disagreement". The Charlotte Observer. p. 1A. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- Spanberg, Erik (February 4, 2014). "Retail, Office Towers, Hotels Top Uptown Charlotte's To-Do List". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- Weinrib, Ben (July 31, 2013). "Charlotte Knights Announce Date for First Uptown Game at BB&T Ballpark". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- "Club Seats". Charlotte Knights at Uptown. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
- Spanburg, Erik (July 5, 2013). "BB&T Ballpark Is Reshaping Charlotte Knights Franchise". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
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