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Bank of America Stadium

Charlotte, NC

Home of the Belk Bowl

3.6

N/A

Bank of America Stadium (map it)
800 S Mint St
Charlotte, NC 28202


Belk Bowl website

Bank of America Stadium website

Year Opened: 1996

Capacity: 73,504

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Belk Bowl

The Belk Bowl in 2013 saw a matchup between Atlantic Coast Conference and American Athletic Conference (formerly Big East) teams; The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and University of Cincinnati, respectively. This was Cincinnati’s second consecutive appearance in the Belk Bowl, having faced Duke in the 2012 version.

Even though Chapel Hill is approximately three hours from Charlotte, UNC is very much the “home team” in Charlotte, but this isn’t basketball. It appeared that the Cincinnati crowd was not overly enthused as well, as overall attendance was down again, and the stadium was only about half full.

For the 2014 game, the Belk Bowl has signed new six year agreements with the ACC and SEC, which should provide for a steady stream of popular rivalries, and hopefully a resurgence in attendance.

3.6

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    5

Bank of America Stadium has a reputation in the NFL for providing a great selection of food and drink throughout the stadium. On their website, they boast that there is one point of sale for every 171 seats, nearly twice the capacity of a typical football stadium. Now, at an event where you're only reaching 50% of capacity, this makes for extremely short lines, and a very relaxed, unhurried feel to the process.

Beyond the standard options you'd expect at any stadium (Budweiser and Pepsi products, typical hot dogs, burgers and nachos), there are Bojangles and Wendy's franchises on site, serving a limited menu.

The star of the show, though is JJR's Barbecue, an on-premises barbecue pit that only serves the stadium. In addition to fantastic pulled pork and brisket sandwiches served three ways (Eastern NC Vinegar, Western NC Tomato, or SC style mustard-based), JJR's also teams up with Carolina Nacho Company to offer some of the best "fully-dressed" nachos I've ever come across in a stadium setting. The nachos are $8.75, and are easily two lbs fully loaded and enough for 2-3 people to share.

Bank of America Stadium also sports an impressive beer selection, pulling in local microbrews from Charlotte's burgeoning microbrew scene. Natty Greene's, Old Mecklenburg, Foothills and Catawba Valley highlight a selection available throughout the stadium, and in the beer garden near section 101.

One odd inconsistency is that the Belk Bowl is sponsored by Coca-Cola, but their products are not available on site. This is not a really big deal, but it was interesting to find that Coke would sponsor, but not even be on-site.

Atmosphere    3

The organizers do a nice job of trying to make a vibrant weekend out of the game. A battle of the bands is held a few blocks away at the Epicentre - a four-story retail/restaurant complex. Prior to kickoff in 2013, a free concert from country star Blake Shelton was held just outside the stadium.

While the concert was a nice bonus, it caused a significant bottleneck outside the stadium, which made entrance to the game a little more difficult than it needed to be. The area around the stadium is changing so rapidly right now (new city park just two blocks away, adjacent to the brand-new minor league baseball stadium). Eventually, it would be in their best interest to either relocate this concert into the park, or a little further from the stadium to reduce the bottleneck.

Lastly, there's a pervasive sense in the stadium that this matchup has gotten tired. The UNC fans are typically laissez-faire about anything that's not the Final Four. Cincinnati has been here before and did not travel well in 2013, the visitor side was more baby blue than black and red, so the energy level in the half-filled stadium was fairly low. Compounding that was a very sloppy first half, with turnovers and rapid scoring, that left UNC with a significant lead at half, and the game quickly became a foregone conclusion.

Neighborhood    4

There's plenty to do in uptown Charlotte, with loads of good restaurants, lodging options and entertainment venues within walking distance, or at most a short car ride away. What uptown Charlotte lacks at this stage is retail. You'll definitely need to drive to that, if shopping is part of your weekend plan, but it's plentiful within 20 minutes of the stadium.

Sports fans will enjoy the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets. The Epicentre offers nightlife at Whisky River and Strike City Bowling. There's a number of additional nightlife opportunities further up College Street, towards 6th and 7th Avenue.

Fans    2

UNC football's fan base has a deserved "wine & cheese" reputation. People aren't overly passionate about the football program, because it's never really reached the levels of success expected from the men's basketball program. As such, the bowl game doesn't reach an energy level that you'd like to see in an "event."

The visiting team was also tempered by the small crowd. I'm sure coming to Charlotte for a second straight year also dampened Cincinnati's desire to travel.

In plain point of fact, this is a bowl game that pits 3rd/4th options from each league against each other, so without a natural rivalry that the SEC may bring, it's unlikely to generate the passion you'd find in a major bowl game.

Access    5

Getting in and out of Charlotte is simple. Charlotte Douglas international Airport is a major hub for American Airlines and US Airways, which makes flights plentiful. The bowl game is the major event in the business district, so there's little traffic competition as well.

Charlotte has a single light rail line that provides more value for commuters from the south side of town, but can be useful for games, if you want to park out of the area, and ride in.

Parking is plentiful, both with surface lots and parking decks available throughout the area. Tailgating is popular in the surface lots along Stonewall Street, as well as Graham Street - all within walking distance of the stadium.

Return on Investment    4

Tickets are quite reasonable, with seats on the visitor sideline, 10 rows up, for under $40. If your team is coming to play and you're a passionate fan, it's unlikely you'll find a better ticket price at the more prestigious bowls. Charlotte overall is a pretty reasonably priced destination, with lots of options for shopping and entertainment.

As the hub event of a getaway weekend, a visit to the Belk Bowl offers a good time at a reasonable price.

Extras    2

Belk Department Stores does a nice job of using the bowl sponsorship as an opportunity to get some publicity for their charitable efforts. The Blake Shelton concert was a popular attraction, as was the Belk Bowl 5k, which was run the morning before the football game, and raised more than $50,000.

The stadium is easy to get around, and the Panthers staff does an exemplary job of managing security and fan assistance. Despite efforts by the Panthers to claim the stadium is getting dated (leading to a request to the city for money for renovations), Bank of America Stadium still feels new and state of the art, and provides an exemplary fan experience. The hope is that future iterations of the bowl game can live up to the venue.

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Local Food & Drink

Whisky River  (map it!)

210 E Trade St

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 749-1097

http://thewhiskyriver.com/charlotte/

Local Entertainment

NASCAR Hall of Fame  (map it!)

400 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 654-4400

http://www.nascarhall.com/

Strike City Bowling  (map it!)

210 E Trade St

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 716-9300

http://strikecitycharlotte.com/

Lodging

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