Bank of America Stadium
The stadium before a 2015 game
|Former names||Panthers Stadium (planning)
Carolinas Stadium (planning)
Ericsson Stadium (1996–2004)
|Location||800 South Mint Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
|Owner||Panthers Stadium LLC|
|Operator||Panthers Stadium LLC|
|Field size||132 yds long x 93 yards wide (121 x 80 m)|
|Surface||Voyager Bermuda Grass|
|Broke ground||April 22, 1994|
|Opened||September 14, 1996|
|Expanded||1997, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015|
|Construction cost||$248 million
($374 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Populous (then HOK Sport)|
|Structural engineer||Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.|
|Services engineer||Lockwood Greene|
|General contractor||Turner/F.N. Thompson|
|Carolina Panthers (NFL) (1996–present)
Belk Bowl (NCAA) (2002–present)
ACC Championship Game (2010–present)
Bank of America Stadium (formerly known as Carolinas Stadium and Ericsson Stadium) is a 75,412-seat football stadium located on 33 acres (13 ha) of land in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. It is the home facility of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise. It also hosts the annual Belk Bowl, which features teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference, and the annual ACC Championship Game through 2019. The largest crowd to ever attend a football game at the stadium was on December 5, 2015 when 74,514 fans watched the Clemson Tigers defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels 45-37 in the 2015 ACC Championship Game.
Other sites considered for selection
The organization had considered several possible sites for the stadium's location before choosing the Charlotte center city site. Part of the site was occupied by the historic Good Samaritan Hospital. One alternative was near NASCAR's Charlotte Motor Speedway and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in northeast Mecklenburg County. Another was at the intersection of I-85 and US 74 in western Gaston County. A popular option was to locate the facility near Carowinds amusement park, with the 50 yard line being on the state border of North Carolina and South Carolina.
The stadium, originally known as Carolinas Stadium (a name which remains as an alternative venue name for events which require sponsor neutralization such as FIFA matches), opened in 1996, as Ericsson Stadium after the Swedish telecom company LM Ericsson purchased the naming rights to the stadium in a ten-year, $25 million agreement. In 2004, the stadium received its current name after Bank of America purchased the naming rights for 20 years. Since Bank of America has acquired naming rights, many fans now refer to the stadium as "The Bank", "The BOA", "The B of A", or "The Vault".
Bank of America Stadium has many unique external features. Aspects of the stadium's architecture, such as the three main entrances, incorporate the team's colors of black, process blue and silver. Arches that connect column supports on the upper deck resemble the shape of half a football. Numerous trees and landscaping also surround the building. Each of the stadium's main entrances are flanked on both sides by two larger-than-life bronze panther statues; these six statues, which each depict a crouching, snarling panther with green eyes, are the largest sculptures ever commissioned in the United States. The names of the team's original PSL owners are engraved into each statue's base.
Additionally, the two people currently in the Panthers Hall of Honor, former team executive Mike McCormack and former Panthers linebacker and assistant coach Sam Mills, are honored with life-sized bronze statues outside the stadium. Three marble copies of a quote about the stadium from team owner Jerry Richardson were placed at the stadium's three entrances in 2014.
In addition to hosting every Panthers home game since 1996, Bank of America Stadium has also hosted seven playoff games and Carolina has had over 125 consecutive sellouts at the stadium starting with the 2002 season.
The Panthers played their inaugural season at Clemson University's Memorial Stadium while the stadium was being constructed. The Panthers played their first game at the stadium on September 14, 1996 against their to-be division rival Atlanta Falcons, winning 29-6.
In 1996, on their way to their first NFC Championship Game, Carolina defeated the then-defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys. Again they defeated the Cowboys on their way to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. Carolina was handed their first ever home playoff loss, 33-13, by the Arizona Cardinals on January 10, 2009. The Panthers suffered a second home playoff loss against the San Francisco 49ers 23-10 on January 12, 2014. On January 3, 2015, the Panthers won their first home playoff game in 12 years, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-16. En route to their fourth NFC Championship game appearance, the Panthers beat the Seattle Seahawks 31-24 in the divisional round on January 17, 2016. The Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC Championship game for their first NFC championship victory in twelve years and second in franchise history on January 24, 2016. This marked the first NFC Championship played at the stadium.
Impact on NFL venues
At the time of its construction in the mid-1990s, the stadium was a pioneering project for the use of Personal Seat Licenses. It was the first large-scale project funded in the United States chiefly through securing PSLs. The strength of PSL pledges impressed NFL owners and resulted in the Carolinas receiving the first new expansion team in nearly two decades. The stadium was also credited with being a major cause for new NFL stadium construction. Between 1996 and 2002, eleven new NFL stadiums opened their doors, similar to the impact Camden Yards had for MLB ballparks a few years earlier. The Seattle Seahawks used the stadium, among others, as references when designing CenturyLink Field.
A decade after Bank of America Stadium's construction, however, it was eleventh oldest among NFL stadiums in 2006. The last three to open before the stadium broke ground were Ralph Wilson Stadium in 1973, Sun Life Stadium in 1987, and the Georgia Dome in 1992. However, Ralph Wilson Stadium underwent a $130 million renovation during the 2014 offseason, Sun Life Stadium is undergoing renovations (to be completed by 2016) and the Georgia Dome will be demolished once replaced by the Atlanta Falcons' Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017.
During its first few seasons the stadium was considered to be so far ahead of its time that until the 2013-14 offseason, it only underwent minor improvements (aside from seating additions). The most notable of these improvements came in 2007 when the original scoreboards, video boards and displays from 1996 were replaced with 31.5x77 ft high-definition monitors and four ribbon boards: two spanning the length of the field on either side and the other two in separate corners. The ribbon boards were added first, then the scoreboards. However, the original play clock displays at either end of the stadium remained for another six seasons.
During the 2013 offseason, the team renovated their home locker room, lengthening it which added more lockers (74 compared to 66 before), made it look more modern, and added the team's then-new logo throughout.
Carolina proposed a $250 million stadium renovation project in early 2013, pending a vote by the city of Charlotte to help pay for the renovations. The subsequent vote failed and efforts to get any money from the State of North Carolina failed as well. However in April 2013, the Charlotte City Council agreed to finance $87.5 million towards the renovations, and included a commitment the Panthers would stay in Charlotte for another six seasons.
In January 2014, the Panthers began the most significant renovations to the stadium in its 18-year history as part one of a five-year renovation plan. The upgrades, completed by the start of the 2014-2015 NFL season, included numerous new enhancements. First, two 200x56 ft HD video boards and two 360-degree ribbon boards from Daktronics replaced the previous scoreboards/ribbon boards. The new ribbon boards were the tallest in the NFL at the time of their installation. Four escalators were installed for the upper deck and a new surround sound system was also included, with speakers also doubling as flagpoles. In addition, covered open-air sections on the upper deck called "fan plazas" were added. Finally, LED-enhanced glass domes on each of the stadium's entrances were installed, replacing the original fiberglass domes, along with new external signage.
Prior to the start of the 2015 season, the Panthers renovated all 158 existing luxury suites to the stadium and added a new private club suite, dubbed "The 32 Club" due to its position at the 32-yard line. The team later announced another new club, dubbed the "51 Club" in honor of former player and coach Sam Mills, would also be added. These new installations decreased the stadium's number of luxury suites to 153, but increased overall seating capacity. The team also added two small ribbon boards above each tunnel exit which can be seen on the field.
During the 2015 offseason, part three of the renovations will focus on upgrading the upper-level concourse and the stadium's wi-fi system.
Bank of America Stadium does not serve as the primary home stadium for any college football team. However, it has hosted several college football games.
The ACC Championship Game, first Saturday in December, pits the champion of the Coastal Division against the champion of the Atlantic Division; it has been held at the stadium since 2010. In February 2014, the ACC announced a 6-year contract extension to keep the game in Charlotte through 2019.
The Belk Bowl (formerly known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl and the Continental Tire Bowl), taking place in late-December, used to pit a team from the ACC versus a team from the American Athletic Conference. Starting in 2014 the game features the ACC versus the SEC. It has been held annually since 2002.
The stadium has also hosted several East Carolina Pirates games: in 1996 and 2004 versus the NC State Wolfpack, in 1999 versus the West Virginia Mountaineers,in 2008 versus the Virginia Tech Hokies, and in 2011 versus the South Carolina Gamecocks. An additional Pirates-Gamecocks game was scheduled for 2014; however, the game has since been relocated to Columbia, home of the Gamecocks.
Two games in the North Carolina Tar Heels-NC State Wolfpack rivalry took place at the stadium in 1998 and 1999, respectively, with the Tar Heels winning both times.
On September 3, 2015, the Belk College Kickoff Game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks took place at the stadium, with the Gamecocks winning 17-13. In 2017 the Belk College Kickoff game will feature North Carolina State and South Carolina; in 2018 the game will be played between West Virginia and Tennessee.
Two more games between South Carolina and North Carolina are scheduled to be played at the stadium in 2019 and 2023.
With a field large enough to meet the regulatory requirements for soccer, Bank of America Stadium has been host to several soccer matches.
- It was a site of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship in 1999 and 2000.
- On March 24, 2010, the stadium hosted an international friendly match, between Mexico and Iceland ; it was the first match between two men's national soccer teams to be held at the stadium.
- On June 9, 2011, the stadium hosted two first round matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
- On August 2, 2014, the stadium hosted a group stage match of the 2014 International Champions Cup between A.C. Milan and Liverpool F.C. with Liverpool winning 2-0. 69,364 were in attendance, a stadium record for international soccer.
- On July 15, 2015, the stadium hosted a 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup double header of Cuba vs. Guatemala and Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago. There were 55,823 in attendance marking the second biggest crowd of the group stage.
- On July 25, 2015, for the second consecutive year the stadium hosted the 2015 International Champions Cup between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, with 61,224 in attendance.
- The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium during their Bridges To Babylon Tour on October 10, 1997.
- A Billy Graham crusade was held there in 1996.
- The closing night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, in which President Barack Obama was expected to deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, was to be held at the stadium on September 6, 2012. However, due to predictions of thunderstorms, it was relocated to Time Warner Cable Arena.
- "Stadium Facts". Carolina Panthers. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- "2014 Carolina Panthers Media Guide" (PDF). Carolina Panthers. p. 432. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Zeise, Paul (December 22, 2009). "Meineke Bowl Notebook: Wannstedt -- Bowl games are 'healthy'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
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- "Clemson, Temple Agree to Charlotte Site". The Post and Courier. April 5, 2006. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Spanberg, Erik (January 16, 2004). "Panthers sign BofA for stadium naming rights". Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- "Stadium Credit Cards Offered to Panthers Fans". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. June 28, 1996. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Friedlander, Andy (April 25, 1994). "It's up, it's good; Panthers win toss". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- Friedlander, Andy (August 29, 1994). "Richardson Learning as Stadium Rises". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
- Emporis.com - Bank of America Stadium
- "Stadium (panthers.com)". Carolina Panthers. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- "Conferences". Raycom. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- "ACC Football Title Games to Tampa, Charlotte". WRAL.com. December 12, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
- "ACC championship game to remain in Charlotte for 2 more years". WashingtonPost.com. December 2, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2011.[dead link]
- "ACC to keep title game in Charlotte for two more years". HamptonRoads.com. December 2, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
- Hardin, Ed (June 27, 1996). "Panthers' New Home Gets Name That Doesn't Quite Ring". Greensboro News Record. pp. C1.
- Home of Carolina Panthers to be Called Bank of America Stadium
- "Chronology". Team History. Carolina Panthers. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- "Best Public Art in Uptown Charlotte". CBS Charlotte. October 1, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
- "Hall of Honor". Carolina Panthers. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- "East Carolina Announces Football Schedules Through 2013". East Carolina University. June 23, 2005. Archived from the original on January 5, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- 2006 East Carolina Football Media Guide. East Carolina Athletic Department. 2006. pp. 178–179.
- "International soccer comes to Charlotte". Carolina Panthers. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
- "Liverpool fans flex muscle at Bank of America Stadium". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bank of America Stadium.|
- Carolina Panthers – Bank of America stadium page
- Bank of America Stadium at StadiumDB.com
- Belk Bowl official website
- Bank of America Stadium Seating Chart
|Events and tenants|
Clemson Memorial Stadium
|Home of the
|Host of NFC Championship Game
Raymond James Stadium
|Host of the
ACC Championship Game
|Host of the College Cup
Columbus Crew Stadium