Charlotte Coliseum
The Hive
The Coliseum in 1988
AddressHive Dr
LocationCharlotte, North Carolina
Coordinates35°11′11″N 80°54′46″W / 35.18639°N 80.91278°W / 35.18639; -80.91278Coordinates: 35°11′11″N 80°54′46″W / 35.18639°N 80.91278°W / 35.18639; -80.91278
OwnerCity of Charlotte
OperatorCity of Charlotte
CapacityBasketball: 24,042
Ice hockey: 21,684
Boxing: 23,041

*End stage 180°: 16,695
*End stage 360°: 23,780
*Center stage: 24,041
*Theatre: 5,372 - 9,696[2]
Field size872,000 sq ft (81,000 m2)
ScoreboardAmerican Sign & Indicator, now Trans-Lux
Broke groundAugust 1986
OpenedAugust 11, 1988
ClosedOctober 26, 2005
DemolishedJune 3, 2007
Construction costUS$52 million
($119 million in 2021 dollars[1])
ArchitectOdell Associates
Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats (NBA) (1988–2002, 2004–2005)
Charlotte 49ers (NCAA) (1988–1993)
Charlotte Rage (AFL) (1992–1994, 1996)
Charlotte Sting (WNBA) (1997–2005)
Carolina Cobras (AFL) (2003–2004)

Charlotte Coliseum was a multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was operated by the Charlotte Coliseum Authority, which also oversees the operation of Bojangles' Coliseum (which was called Charlotte Coliseum prior to 1988), the Charlotte Convention Center, and Ovens Auditorium. It is best known as the home of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets from 1988 to 2002, and the Charlotte Bobcats (now the second incarnation of the Hornets) from 2004 to 2005.

The Coliseum hosted 371 consecutive NBA sell-outs from December 1988 to November 1997, which includes seven playoff games.[3] It hosted its final NBA basketball game on October 26, 2005, a preseason game between the Charlotte Bobcats and the Indiana Pacers.

The city of Charlotte sold the property and the building, along with a Maya Lin commission outside it,[4] was demolished via implosion on June 3, 2007.


Inside of the Coliseum prior to the Hornets game with the Indiana Pacers on April 9, 2000.
Inside of the Coliseum prior to the Hornets game with the Indiana Pacers on April 9, 2000.

Construction on the Charlotte Coliseum began in 1986[5] and was opened on August 11, 1988, with a dedication by the Reverend Billy Graham.[6] At the time the venue was seen as state-of-the-art, complete with luxury boxes and a large eight-sided video scoreboard. George Shinn had used the under-construction arena as his hole card to get the NBA to place a team in the city. With almost 24,000 seats, it was not only the largest venue in the league, but the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. Some thought the Coliseum was too big, but Shinn believed the area's longstanding support for college basketball made the Coliseum a more-than-viable home for an NBA team.

The day after the dedication, the United States Olympic basketball team was scheduled to play an exhibition game at the Coliseum. While preparing for the event, the 40,000-pound, $3.2 million scoreboard was being repositioned when it struck the ceiling and crashed to the floor, destroying both it and the court it landed on—an alternate floor was brought from Independence Arena in time for the game that night.[7]

The Hornets would go on to lead the NBA in attendance in eight of its first nine seasons playing in "The Hive".[5] At one point, they sold out 371 consecutive games—almost nine consecutive seasons. However, poorly received decisions made by Shinn, as well as anger over personal scandals involving him, caused fan support to dwindle, and by then the once-sparkling Coliseum was seen by many as outdated and no longer suitable to be the home of a major professional sports team. When the Hornets relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2002, the Hornets' attendance had dropped to last in the 29-team league.[8] One of the Coliseum's last functions before being shuttered was ironically as a shelter for people fleeing New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.

This was actually the second building to use the name "Charlotte Coliseum"; Bojangles' Coliseum, located on Independence Boulevard, originally opened as the Coliseum. The older Coliseum is still in use.

Later the Charlotte Coliseum was replaced with the now Spectrum Center located in the First Ward of Uptown Charlotte.


Although the Hornets were the best-known tenants of the Coliseum, many other teams called The Hive home.

The Charlotte Sting of the WNBA began play in the Coliseum upon their inception in 1997, but had moved to Spectrum Center in 2006. During most Sting games, the upper level and a portion of the lower level were curtained off, reducing capacity to around 10,000. However, during the Sting's unexpected run to the WNBA Finals in 2001, they attracted the largest crowd in WNBA history to one playoff game.

The Charlotte 49ers played in the Coliseum during their final days in the Sun Belt Conference from 1988 through 1993. The Coliseum also played host to the 1989 Sun Belt men's basketball tournament, setting a record for attendance. They moved back to their old home, Bojangles' Coliseum (then known as Independence Arena) for the 1993–94 season, partly due to a desire for a more intimate atmosphere. The 49ers rarely came close to filling the arena, and they were frequently swallowed up in the environment. Additionally, the Coliseum was located on the opposite side of the county from UNC Charlotte's campus, and was thus inconvenient to most of its student body.

Two now-defunct Arena Football League teams played in the Coliseum—the Charlotte Rage (1992–96) and the Carolina Cobras (2003–04).

When the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 with the expansion Bobcats, they played their first season (2004–05) in the Coliseum[5] as what became the Spectrum Center was being built.

Although the Coliseum and all but one of its parking lots had been demolished as of September 2013, the street leading to the grounds named Hive Drive (after the Coliseum's nickname of "The Hive", which has since been applied to the second Hornets' home arena) and a sign at the beginning guiding drivers to the Coliseum and surrounding amenities remained for some time afterward. Additionally, for some years after the arena's demolition, signs on Billy Graham Parkway continued to direct drivers to the "Coliseum Area."

Notable events

The arena was also used for college basketball events. The Coliseum hosted the 1994 Men's Final Four and the 1996 Women's Final Four (both jointly hosted by Davidson College and UNC Charlotte), in addition to NCAA tournament regionals, sub-regionals, eight ACC men's basketball tournaments and the 1989 Sun Belt Conference men's basketball tournament.

It also hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game. It was also the site of WWE Unforgiven 1999 and Judgment Day 2003.

In addition to the many sporting events hosted at the Coliseum, it hosted large concerts. The first concert was not long after the grand opening and featured Frank Sinatra. Another blue eyed-crooner, Rick "The Big Bopper" Sammons,[9] was the final performer to entertain in the coliseum.

In film

The Coliseum was home to filming of the movie Eddie in 1996, and was the Tech Dome, home of the fictitious Tech University in the 1998 film He Got Game. It was also featured in 2002's Juwanna Mann.

Current use

City Park, a mixed-use development, was constructed on the former site. City Park includes town homes, apartments, hotels, and restaurants. A plaque honoring the former arena is placed near the front of the development.


  1. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "Charlotte Coliseum" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search".
  4. ^ "Charlotte's History of Arts Controversies". 6 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday, updated June 1, 2007
  6. ^ "Coliseum Scoreboard Crashes to Floor". Associated Press. 12 August 1988. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  7. ^ "A 40,000-pound scoreboard at the new Charlotte Coliseum collapsed..." United Press International. 12 August 1988. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  8. ^ "NBA Home Attendance Totals".
  9. ^ "Rick Sammons | Rockabilly from Cleveland, GA".
Events and tenants
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Charlotte Hornets

1988 – 2002, 2004 – 05
Succeeded by
Preceded by Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Charlotte Rage

1992 – 1996
Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Charlotte Sting

1997 – 2005
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home of the
Carolina Cobras

2003 – 2004
Succeeded by
last arena