Bojangles' Coliseum

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For the arena known as Charlotte Coliseum after 1988, see Charlotte Coliseum.
Bojangles' Coliseum
The Big I/The Old Coliseum
Bojangles Coliseum.png
Former names Charlotte Coliseum (1955–1988)
Independence Arena (1988–2001)
Cricket Arena (2001–2008)
Bojangles Coliseum (2008–)
Location 2700 East Independence Blvd
Charlotte, North Carolina 28205
Owner City of Charlotte
Operator Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
Capacity 9,605
Construction
Opened 1955
Renovated 1988
Expanded 1992
Construction cost $4 million for Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium[1]
Architect A.G. Odell and Associates of Charlotte, NC[2]
Structural engineer Severud, Elstad and Krueger of New York, NY[2]
General contractor Thompson and Street Company of Charlotte, NC[2] Structural Steel Fabrication and Erection
Southern Engineering Company of Charlotte, NC[2]
Tenants
Carolina Cougars (1969–1974)
Charlotte 49ers (1976–1988, 1993–1996)
Charlotte Cobras (MILL) (1996)
Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) (1993–2005)
Charlotte Krunk (2005)
Arena Racing USA (2006–2008)
Charlotte Roller Girls (2008)
Carolina Speed (SIFL) (2009, 2011-2013)
Charlotte Copperheads (PLL) (2012-Present)

Bojangles' Coliseum (originally Charlotte Coliseum and formerly Independence Arena and Cricket Arena) is a 9,605-seat multi-purpose arena, in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which also oversees the Ovens Auditorium and the Charlotte Convention Center. The naming-rights sponsor is Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits.[3]

History[edit]

It was opened and dedicated in 1955, as Charlotte Coliseum. At the time, it was the largest unsupported steel dome in the world. After the new Charlotte Coliseum opened in 1988, the name was changed to Independence Arena (named for its location on Independence Boulevard in Charlotte) and it underwent an extensive renovation. In 2001, the arena was renamed Cricket Arena in a naming rights arrangement with Cricket Communications. In 2008, Bojangles Restaurants, Inc., based in Charlotte, bought the naming rights.

Basketball[edit]

As the old Charlotte Coliseum it was a site for home games for the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association from 1969 through 1974. The Cougars became tenants after the Houston Mavericks moved to North Carolina in 1969. The Cougars were a "regional franchise", playing "home" games in Charlotte (Bojangles' Coliseum), Greensboro (Greensboro Coliseum), Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum and Raleigh (Dorton Arena). Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown began his coaching career with the Cougars in 1972. Billy Cunningham was the ABA MVP for the Cougars in the 1972-73 season. Despite a strong fan base the Cougars were sold and moved to St. Louis in 1974.[4]

It also hosted the ACC men's basketball tournament from 1968–1970, the Southern Conference men's basketball tournament from 1964-1971 (and again in 2010, for the first three days of the tournament), and was the site of the Sun Belt Conference men's basketball tournament from 1977 through 1980. Additionally, it hosted the Charlotte 49ers from 1976 until 1988, and again from 1993 through 1996.

Other sports[edit]

Bojangles' Coliseum

The Carolina Speed of the American Indoor Football Association, formerly playing at the Cabarrus Arena & Events Center, moved here in 2009. After the season, they announced they would be sitting out the 2010 season and resuming play in 2011 back in Cabarrus. However, later on they changed their minds and returned in 2011 to the Coliseum, this time as a member of the Southern Indoor Football League.

The venue was also the home of minor league hockey in Charlotte from 1956, when the first Baltimore Clippers moved to Charlotte to become the early Checkers, to 1977, when the first version of the Checkers folded. When the Checkers were revived in 1993, they played there until 2005, and the arena would be available should Kelly Cup Playoff games be needed because of the unavailability of Time Warner Cable Arena as ECHL rules regarding playoff games and timeframes are compact and may force a game to be moved.

The arena also hosted the worst team in MILL history, the 1996 Charlotte Cobras (0-10). The 1996 season was their one and only in the MILL. The team was folded without ever winning a game. Starting in September 2012, the arena will be home to the Charlotte Copperheads of the Professional Lacrosse League

The Carolina Vipers played their one and only season in the CIS League in the summer of 1994. The team went 3-25 and then went "inactive" for 1995, never to return. The Vipers averaged 3,034 fans per game in their only season.

The arena also hosted UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Gomi on March 31, 2010.

Concerts[edit]

Other events[edit]

It has been the site for the Spring Commencement ceremony of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) for a number of years. JCSU uses the coliseum because it offers more seating and parking capacity than JCSU's own on-campus facilities do. In addition, UNC-Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College and many local high schools have also held graduation ceremonies.

A Billy Graham Crusade took place at the Coliseum in 1958.

Also, the Bojangles' Coliseum hosted the graduation ceremony for Charlotte Campus of University of Phoenix.

The Coliseum hosted NWA Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling from the 1970s to the 1990s. WCW held numerous wrestling events there.

Future[edit]

In 2005, the Charlotte Checkers departed for the new Time Warner Cable Arena, and Bojangles Coliseum was left with no major tenant. It remained open as a venue for medium-sized concerts and stage shows which would not be suitable for TWC Arena and also high school and some college sporting events, along with local attractions. The Southern Conference played the first two rounds of their basketball tournaments in 2010, then moved the semifinals and finals to TWC Arena. On November 24th, 2014, the Charlotte Checkers announced a tentative agreement with the Charlotte Regional Visitors' Authority to return to Bojangles' Coliseum for the 2015-16 season. The agreement is pending a Charlotte City Council vote to approve $16 million in funding for renovations to the arena.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charlotte - A Good Place to Live, A Good Place To Do Business, The Charlotte News, 1954, pg 23.
  2. ^ a b c d Hanks, Edmund E.. "Steel in the Round." Steel Construction Digest, American Institute of Steel Construction Vol 11, No 4, Fourth Quarter, 1954 14-15.
  3. ^ "GOTTAWANNANEEDAGETTAHAVA" New name? Two Charlotte Originals - together at last". bojangles.com. November 25, 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Carolina Cougars". Remember the ABA. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  5. ^ http://gocheckers.com/articles/922-checkers-reach-tentative-agreement-to-return-to-bojangles-coliseum

External links[edit]

Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Charlotte Checkers

1993 – 2005
Succeeded by
Time Warner Cable Arena
Preceded by
TNA Impact! Zone
Host of Genesis
2008
Succeeded by
TNA Impact! Zone

Coordinates: 35°12′18.59″N 80°47′42.37″W / 35.2051639°N 80.7951028°W / 35.2051639; -80.7951028