Bojangles' Coliseum

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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 8,600 (2015-present)[1]
9,605 (1992-2015)
Opened 1955
Renovated 1988, 2015
Expanded 1992
Construction cost $4 million for Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium[2]
Architect A.G. Odell and Associates of Charlotte, NC[3]
Structural engineer Severud, Elstad and Krueger of New York, NY[3]
General contractor Thompson and Street Company of Charlotte, NC[3] Structural Steel Fabrication and Erection
Southern Engineering Company of Charlotte, NC[3]
Carolina Cougars (ABA) (1969–1974)
Charlotte Checkers/Clippers (EHL/SHL) (1956–1977)
Charlotte 49ers (NCAA) (1976–1988, 1993–1996)
Charlotte Cobras (MILL) (1996)
Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) (1993–2005)
Charlotte Krunk (ABA) (2005)
Arena Racing USA (2006–2008)
Charlotte Roller Girls (WFTDA) (2008)
Carolina Speed (SIFL) (2009, 2011-2013)
Charlotte Copperheads (PLL) (2012)
Charlotte Checkers (AHL) (2015-present)

Bojangles' Coliseum (originally Charlotte Coliseum and formerly Independence Arena and Cricket Arena) is a 8,600-seat multi-purpose arena located 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.[4]


The building was opened and dedicated in 1955 as the Charlotte Coliseum. At the time, it was the largest unsupported steel dome in the world.[5] It held the distinction of world's largest dome until 1957, and the record for largest dome in the United States until 1963. [6] After the new Charlotte Coliseum opened in 1988, the original Coliseum's name was changed to Independence Arena (named for its location on Independence Boulevard in Charlotte) and it underwent an extensive renovation, its last major upgrade for almost 30 years. 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.[7]

In 2005, the Charlotte Checkers, the city's minor-league hockey team, departed for the then-new Time Warner Cable Arena and Bojangles Coliseum was left with no major tenant for a decade. The building remained open as a venue for medium-sized concerts and stage shows which wouldn't be suitable for TWC Arena, as well as high school and some college sporting events, along with local attractions. Questions about the building's future rose up over that time and in 2012, the city of Charlotte began considering renovating the building itself as a sports complex.[8] Two years later, another plan was announced that would add both a hotel and sports complex next to the Coliseum.[9] Both deals ultimately fell through.

On November 24, 2014, the Checkers announced a tentative agreement with the Charlotte Regional Visitors' Authority to return to Bojangles' Coliseum for the 2015-16 season. The agreement was pending a Charlotte City Council vote to approve $16 million in funding for renovations in conjunction with the Checkers return.[10] On December 8, the City approved the $16 million needed for renovations and for the Checkers to return. The renovations would include new seats and other modern amenities.[11] Almost a year to the day when the Checkers announced their return to the Coliseum the renovations were completed and unveiled to the public. Aside from the all-new seats and score/video boards, new additions also included a sound system (replacing the one used since 1955[12]), locker room, restaurant, and updated concessions.[13] The Coliseum also celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015.


As the 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.[14]

It also hosted the ACC men's basketball tournament from 1968–1970,[citation needed] 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.

Hockey and Other Sports[edit]

Bojangles' Coliseum in 2007

Before the Checkers returned in 2015, Bojangles' was the home of minor league hockey for many years. The first instance was from 1956, when the first Baltimore Clippers moved to Charlotte to become the early Checkers, to 1977, when that version of the Checkers folded. When the Checkers were revived in 1993, they played at the Coliseum until 2005. The Coliseum would have been available to host Kelly Cup Playoff games during the following decade due to scheduling conflicts with Time Warner Cable Arena, but this never occurred.

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. They returned in 2011 to the Coliseum, this time as a member of the Southern Indoor Football League and remained until 2013.

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 one season.

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

Other Events[edit]

It has been the site for the Spring Commencement ceremonies of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) for several years. JCSU uses the coliseum because it offers more seating and parking capacity than their own on-campus facilities. The Coliseum also hosted the graduation ceremony for the Charlotte campus of the Template:University of Phoenix. In addition, the UNC-Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College and many local high schools have held graduation ceremonies at the building.

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

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


  1. ^
  2. ^ Charlotte - A Good Place to Live, A Good Place To Do Business, The Charlotte News, 1954, pg 23.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "GOTTA WANNA NEEDA GETTA HAVA" New name? Two Charlotte Originals - together at last" (PDF). November 25, 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  5. ^ LeGette Blythe and Charles Brockmann, Hornets' Nest: The Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1961) p.390 "Hornets' Nest, Ch. 12, "Cultural Interests"". 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Checkers Reach Tentative Agreement to Return to Bojangles' Coliseum". 
  11. ^ "Charlotte City Council Approves Funding to Renovate Bojangles' Coliseum". 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Carolina Cougars". Remember the ABA. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Time Warner Cable Arena
Home of the
Charlotte Checkers (AHL)

2015 – present
Succeeded by
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
Succeeded by
TNA Impact! Zone
Preceded by
Expo Square Pavilion
Ultimate Fighting Championship venue
Succeeded by
Casper Events Center

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