Bank of America Stadium
The Bank, BofA, BoA
Bank of America Stadium logo.png
BofAStadium2015.JPG
Bank of America Stadium in 2015
Bank of America Stadium is located in North Carolina
Bank of America Stadium
Bank of America Stadium
Location in North Carolina
Bank of America Stadium is located in the United States
Bank of America Stadium
Bank of America Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesPanthers Stadium (planning)
Carolinas Stadium (planning)
Ericsson Stadium (1996–2004)
Address800 South Mint Street
LocationCharlotte, North Carolina
Coordinates35°13′33″N 80°51′10″W / 35.22583°N 80.85278°W / 35.22583; -80.85278Coordinates: 35°13′33″N 80°51′10″W / 35.22583°N 80.85278°W / 35.22583; -80.85278
Public transitLight rail interchange Brooklyn Village
OwnerCity of Charlotte
OperatorPanthers Stadium LLC
Executive suites151
Capacity74,867 (2021–present)[1]
75,523 (2017–2020)[2]
75,419 (2015–2016)[3]
74,455 (2014)[4]
73,778 (2008–2013)[5]
73,504 (2007)[6]
73,298 (2005–2006)[7]
73,250 (1998–2004)[8]
73,248 (1997)
72,685 (1996)[9]
Field size398 feet long x 280 feet wide
SurfaceFieldTurf Pro
Scoreboard55.5 ft tall by 198.3 ft wide (x2)
Construction
Broke groundApril 22, 1994 (1994-04-22)[10]
OpenedAugust 3, 1996 (1996-08-03)
Renovated2007, 2014–2017, 2019, 2020–21
Expanded1997–1998, 2005, 2007–2008, 2014–2015, 2017
Construction cost$248 million
($428 million in 2021 dollars[11])
ArchitectWagner Murray Architects
Populous (then HOK Sport)
Structural engineerBliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Services engineerLockwood Greene[12]
General contractorTurner
F.N. Thompson[13]
Tenants
Carolina Panthers (NFL) (1996–present)
Charlotte FC (MLS) (2022–present)
Duke's Mayo Bowl (NCAA) (2002–present)
Duke's Mayo Classic (NCAA) (2015–present)

Bank of America Stadium is a 74,867-seat football stadium located on 33 acres (13 ha) in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. It is the home facility and headquarters of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League and Charlotte FC of Major League Soccer.[14] The stadium opened in 1996 as Ericsson Stadium, with Swedish telecom company LM Ericsson initially holding the naming rights. In 2004, Charlotte-based financial services company Bank of America purchased the naming rights under a 20-25-year agreement at $140 million.[15] Former Panthers president Danny Morrison called it a "classic American stadium" due to its bowl design and other features.[16]

In addition to the Panthers and CLTFC, the stadium hosts the annual Duke's Mayo Bowl, which features teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and either the Southeastern Conference (SEC) or the Big Ten Conference. The stadium was planned to host the annual ACC Championship Game through at least 2019; the game was moved in 2016 but reinstated in 2017.[17][18][19] The ACC announced on May 19, 2022, that Bank of America Stadium would continue to host the championship through at least the 2030 season.[20] The largest crowd to ever attend a football game at the stadium was on September 9, 2018, when 74,532 fans watched the Panthers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 16–8.[21]

Sites considered for selection

The Panthers organization 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. As part of the preparation for the 2019 Equal Justice Initiative Community Remembrance Project, Charlotte historian Michael Moore determined the site was also significant as the location of the city's first known lynching in 1913.[22]

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.

Naming rights

The stadium was originally known as Carolinas Stadium, a name which remains in use for certain events such as FIFA matches. It opened on August 3, 1996 as Ericsson Stadium[15] after Swedish telecom company LM Ericsson purchased the naming rights in a ten-year, $25 million agreement.[23] In 2004, the stadium received its current name after Bank of America purchased the naming rights for 20 years. Since then, many fans now refer to the stadium as "BOA".[24]

Stadium features

Bank of America Stadium has many unique external features. Aspects of the stadium's architecture, such as the three huge 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, while several acres of numerous trees and landscaping surround the building. The stadium's architecture and design has been compared to that of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Soldier Field, among others. It's also received mentions for externally resembling "a fortress" instead of a stadium.[25]

Each of the stadium's entrances are flanked on both sides by two larger-than-life bronze panther statues, something unique throughout the entire NFL. These six statues are all named "Indomitable Spirit" and were installed in 1996.[26] Each one depicts a crouching, snarling panther with green eyes; they are the largest sculptures ever commissioned in the United States.[27][28] The names of the team's original PSL owners are engraved into each statue's base.

Another striking feature the stadium contains are its six light domes. These are found on top of the main entrances, two per entrance, and sit over a hundred feet in the air. Originally, they simply glowed the Panthers' unique 'process blue' every night. As the seasons wore on, the emitted light became less and less impressive and the domes started showing their age. During the 2014 renovations, the domes were rebuilt with LED systems. They can now be seen again projecting process blue nightly in various ways not possible with the original technology.[29]

Additionally, two people 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.[30] Before the 2014 renovations, the names of the hall of honor inductees were placed where the upper ribbon board now resides. These names were subsequently repainted onto the top rear wall behind the last row of seats, then replaced by signs in 2019. Additionally, three marble copies of a quote about the stadium from team founder Jerry Richardson were placed near the stadium's entrances in 2014.[31] Due to renovations, these quotes were later displayed in the lower concourse entrances. The quotes are also engraved on benches outside the stadium.

In 2016, a statue of Richardson was added in front of the stadium's north gate in celebration of his 80th birthday. The statue stands nearly 13 ft (3.96 m) tall and features larger than life sculptures of Richardson flanked on both sides by two panthers. One panther stands on its hind legs, claws bared, while the other crouches. All three sculptures have the same bronze color and both panthers have the green eyes of and physically resemble the "Indomitable Spirit" statues.[32] In June 2020, the statue was removed, with the team citing potential safety concerns due to protests going on at the time.[33]

Carolina Panthers

The stadium in 2006.
The stadium in 2006.

In addition to hosting every Panthers home game since 1996, Bank of America Stadium has hosted seven playoff games. Carolina has also had over 150 consecutive sellouts at the stadium starting with the 2002 season.[34]

Inaugural season

The Panthers played their inaugural season at Clemson University's Memorial Stadium while the stadium was being constructed. On August 3, 1996, the stadium played host to its first professional football game as the Panthers took on the Chicago Bears during the preseason. The inaugural kickoff was at 7:35 PM. Carolina won 30–12.[35] The stadium's first regular season game took place on September 1, 1996, against Carolina's to-be division rival Atlanta; the Panthers won 29–6.[36]

Playoff games

In 1996, on their way to their first NFC Championship Game, Carolina defeated the then-defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys in the first playoff game the stadium hosted. 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, in the divisional round. The Panthers suffered a second home playoff loss against the San Francisco 49ers 23–10 on January 12, 2014, in the same round. 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 second NFC Championship in franchise history on January 24, 2016. This marked the first NFC Championship played and won at the stadium.

Notable weather events

Since it is an open-air stadium, Bank of America Stadium has been subject to a number of events caused by extreme weather.

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, which were a new idea themselves. The strength of PSL pledges impressed NFL owners and helped result in the Carolinas receiving the first NFL expansion team in nearly two decades.

The Seattle Seahawks used the stadium, among others, as a reference when designing CenturyLink Field.[41] By 2013, the number of new or renovated stadiums since Bank of America Stadium opened had risen to 25.[42]

Stadium renovations

One of the video boards installed in 2014.
One of the video boards installed in 2014.

During its first few seasons the stadium was considered 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 31.5' x 77' Diamond Vision video boards. Four ribbon boards were also installed: two spanning the length of the field on either side and two in opposing corners. In the following years the stadium still wasn't considered as up-to-date as other NFL stadiums. Several reasons existed, including a lack of surround sound, smaller video boards compared to the rest of the league and poor cellular reception, among others. During the 2013 offseason, the Panthers renovated the home locker room. It now contained 74 lockers compared to 66 previously, the interior became more clean and modern, and the team's then-new logo was added throughout.[43]

The Panthers proposed a $250 million stadium renovation project in early 2013, pending a vote by the city of Charlotte to help pay for it. This plan included two sets of new scoreboards, multiple escalators, infrastructure and concourse improvements, among others.[44] The subsequent vote by the city 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 an $87.5 million deal for the renovations. This deal also kept the Panthers in Charlotte until at least 2019.[45] Despite the lower cost, the renovations would stay true to the team's original plans.

2014–2017 renovation

2014

In January 2014, the Panthers began the most significant renovations to the stadium in its 18-year history as part one of a multi-year renovation plan. The upgrades, completed by the start of the 2014–2015 NFL season, included numerous enhancements. First and perhaps most striking of all, two 200' x 56' HD video boards (over twice the size of their predecessors), and two 360° ribbon boards from Daktronics replaced the previous scoreboards/ribbon boards. The new ribbon boards were the tallest in the NFL[46] and the video boards were among the top ten largest in the NFL when installed.[47] Secondly, escalators were installed for the upper deck, making access easier for fans. These warranted extensions to the building itself which retained the stadium's original external designs. A new surround sound system was also included, with speakers placed around the perimeter of the bowl doubling as flagpoles. In addition, four covered open-air sections on the upper deck called "fan plazas" were added. Finally, LED-enhanced glass domes were installed along with new external signage above the main entrances.[48]

2015

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,[49] but increased overall seating capacity. The team also added two small ribbon boards above each tunnel entrance which are visible from the stands.

2016

Part three of the renovations included upgrading the upper-level concourse with buffet-style drink stations and installing double the amount of wi-fi access points than before. Updated signage reflecting the team's current logos and word mark was added to the upper concourse, as well as improved concession stands and new drink concessions. Most notably, almost 100 full-body scanners replaced the traditional "pat-downs" at the main entrances and a new security office was added, as well as other security improvements.[50]

In addition, a 13-foot statue of Jerry Richardson flanked by two life-sized panthers was erected in front of the stadium as a gift to then-team owner Jerry Richardson. The statue has since been removed and stored in an undisclosed location in June 2020 in light of the George Floyd protests.[51]

2017

The fourth and final major renovation included updating the lower-level concourse by adding new signage, refurbishing concessions and installing updated televisions in the club levels. Banners depicting significant moments throughout Panthers history were also added to the concourse. The seating capacity was slightly increased thanks to upgrades at the club level. A new field and drainage system were additionally installed.[52][53]

Other renovations

In 2019, Lowe's signage was added onto the stadium's East Gate, as well as two Panthers posters.[54] The scoreboards received a minor change with the Panthers signage on the bottom of each board replaced with various sponsor logos. The members in the Panthers' Hall of Honor were also given new nameplates on the rear wall of the upper deck. The next year, 2020, the team announced the removal of almost 1000 seats in the west end zone. This was to replace the seats with 14 "bunker suites" at field level. Construction was finished by the start of the 2020 season.[55]

MLS renovation

When Charlotte was awarded the 30th Major League Soccer franchise, Charlotte FC, in 2019, it was announced the team would play at Bank of America Stadium. Despite the stadium having the proper field size for soccer, the stadium was not originally made to accommodate a soccer team full-time. Renovations include new locker rooms, camera positions, a tunnel entrance, a curved video screen outside of the east gate, and lower concourse upgrades.[56] The renovations were completed before Charlotte FC's first season in 2022. In March 2021, it was announced the stadium would have a FieldTurf surface starting with the 2021 NFL season, replacing Bermuda grass that was used since the stadium's inception.[57]

College and high school football

College football

Kickoff to start the second half of the 2010 ACC Championship Game
Kickoff to start the second half of the 2010 ACC Championship Game

Bank of America Stadium does not serve as the primary home stadium for any college football team. However, starting in 1996, the stadium has hosted many college football games.[58] These include several games featuring teams from across North and South Carolina.

High school football

On May 6, 2020, it was announced that Charlotte's Myers Park High School would play against South Pointe High School from Rock Hill, South Carolina. The game was scheduled to take place on September 5, 2020, however, it was later cancelled.[69][70]

Charlotte FC

The stadium configured for a Charlotte FC match
The stadium configured for a Charlotte FC match

Major League Soccer awarded an expansion team to Charlotte that started play in 2022 as Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium, following renovations.[71] The stadium saw its first MLS-related action when it played host to matches between Charlotte FC's and Atlanta United's academy teams on October 31, 2020.[72] Most Charlotte FC matches only use the lower bowl and club level, capping capacity at 38,000.[73][74] The team made their home debut on March 5, 2022 in front of 74,479 spectators. This gained national attention and set a new MLS record for stand-alone match attendance. It was also reported as one of the largest crowds to see a professional soccer match in the world.[75]

Other soccer events

Mexico vs Iceland, 2010
Mexico vs Iceland, 2010

Before Charlotte FC's arrival, Bank of America Stadium was no stranger to hosting soccer matches. The field was designed to meet the requirements for a soccer pitch. The stadium hosted the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship in 1999 and 2000.[76] Despite this, it took until 2010 for soccer matches to become a regular occurrence. Most matches since then have featured international teams. The International Champions Cup stages annual international club friendlies at the stadium as part of a long-term contract with Relevent Sports Group.[77] Among the clubs who have played at the stadium include clubs from the Premier League, Bundesliga and various national teams.

International and club friendly matches

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators Notes
March 24, 2010  Mexico 0–0  Iceland International Friendly 63,227
June 9, 2011  Costa Rica 1–1  El Salvador 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A 46,012
 Mexico 5–0  Cuba
August 2, 2014 England Liverpool F.C. 2–0 Italy A.C. Milan 2014 International Champions Cup 69,364
July 15, 2015  Cuba 1–0  Guatemala 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C 55,823
 Mexico 4–4  Trinidad and Tobago
July 25, 2015 England Chelsea 1–1
(6–5 pen.)
France Paris Saint-Germain 2015 International Champions Cup 61,224
July 30, 2016 Germany FC Bayern Munich 4–1 Italy F.C. Internazionale 2016 International Champions Cup 53,629
July 22, 2018 Germany Borussia Dortmund 3–1 England Liverpool F.C. 2018 International Champions Cup 55,447
June 23, 2019  Canada 7–0  Cuba 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A 59,283
 Mexico 3–2  Martinique
July 20, 2019 England Arsenal 3–0 Italy ACF Fiorentina 2019 International Champions Cup 34,902
October 3, 2019  United States women 2–0  South Korea women Women’s International Friendly 30,071
March 26, 2020  Mexico  Czech Republic International Friendly N/A cancelled due to Coronavirus[78]
October 27, 2021  Ecuador 3–2  Mexico International Friendly 39,887
July 20, 2022 United States Charlotte FC 1–1
(5–3 pen.)
England Chelsea Club Friendly 52,673

Concerts

Concerts at the stadium were a rarity for many years. Most acts performed at the Spectrum Center or at other performing venues in Charlotte. After David Tepper bought the Panthers (and therefore the stadium) in 2018, concerts became more commonplace.

Date Performer(s) Opening act(s) Tour/Event Attendance Revenue Notes
October 10, 1997 The Rolling Stones Blues Traveler Bridges to Babylon Tour 54,436 / 54,436 $3,126,945
June 24, 2012 Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Jake Owen
Brothers of the Sun Tour 44,482 / 47,835 $3,404,455 [79]
September 30, 2021 The Rolling Stones Ghost Hounds No Filter Tour 42,577 / 42,577 $9,074,182 [80][81]
April 23, 2022 Billy Joel Billy Joel in Concert [82][83]
April 30, 2022 Kenny Chesney Dan + Shay
Old Dominion
Carly Pearce
Here and Now Tour [84]
June 28, 2022 Mötley Crüe
Def Leppard
Poison
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
The Stadium Tour Initially scheduled for 2020, but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
July 15 & 16, 2022 Garth Brooks The Garth Brooks Stadium Tour Special appearance from Trisha Yearwood[85]
September 1, 2022 Red Hot Chili Peppers The Strokes
Thundercat
2022 Global Stadium Tour [86]
September 18, 2022 Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour [87]

Other events

Future

Although no time frame has been given, Panthers and Charlotte FC owner David Tepper has expressed interest in constructing a new stadium for the teams in Uptown Charlotte, with the Bank of America Stadium eventually being demolished.[96] Tepper noted in 2019 that while Bank of America Stadium is well-preserved and well-landscaped, the growing maintenance expense after decades of use has led him to joke that it would be cheaper to give the stadium away. Although its original design was ahead of its time, it's now considered obsolete as the design lacks open concourses (allowing fans to stand and watch games from bars and other group areas) and a retractable roof.[96] And while Bank of America Stadium was designed exclusively for football under then-owner Jerry Richardson, Tepper has preferred that its replacement be multipurpose with a retractable roof in order to accommodate his MLS soccer team, concerts, major conventions, and NCAA Final Four basketball.[97] In 2022, Tepper said another major renovation was under consideration. This renovation would apparently give the stadium two or three more decades of use.[98]

Plans also include creating an entertainment district between the future stadium and the future Gateway Station, an $800 million intermodal transit station currently under construction.[99]

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  86. ^ "Bank of America Stadium to host Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2022". panthers.com. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
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  92. ^ "Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival coming to Bank of America Stadium in March". www.panthers.com.
  93. ^ "Thousands vaccinated at Bank of America Stadium". January 31, 2021.
  94. ^ "Bank of America Stadium hosting another mass COVID vaccine clinic; how to get an appointment". March 5, 2021.
  95. ^ "Topgolf Live Stadium Series coming to Bank of America Stadium in 2021". www.panthers.com.
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  99. ^ "Charlotte plans new entertainment district following MLS franchise announcement". wcnc.com. December 19, 2019.
Events and tenants
Preceded by Home of the
Carolina Panthers

1996–present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of
Charlotte FC

2022–present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by Host of NFC Championship Game
2016
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
ACC Championship Game

2010–2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the College Cup
1999–2000
Succeeded by