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Official Review by Dale Yarborough, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to the Carolina Panthers football team. The Panthers’ football stadium opened in the summer of 1996, and holds 75,412 people.
The stadium is open-air, has a natural grass field, and includes training facilities, practice fields, and administrative offices. In 2014, fan-oriented renovations were made to the stadium to create an easier way to enjoy the game. The Panthers’ stadium added state-of-the-art technology, including high-definition video boards above each end zone and a high-octave sound system.
Anyone looking for a Sunday afternoon, family friendly event, find your way to South Mint Street for great food, a big city environment, and a great sporting event at Bank of America Stadium.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Bank of America offers the usual stadium fare as well as a few extras.
Fourth and long hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, Panther fries, and ice cream can be found around almost every corner of the stadium. Papa John's pizza, Bojangles' chicken supremes, and JJR's BBQ are other alternatives. Bratwurst, Italian sausage, Philly cheese steaks, and salads are also among the food list offered at Bank of America Stadium.
A delicious feature at Bank of America Stadium is Krispy Kreme donuts. Candy, frozen lemonade, and cotton candy can also be found. Bottled water, coffee, Gatorade, hot chocolate, and Pepsi products are easily accessible. Beer, wine, and frozen margaritas are available alternatives.
There are 429 concession points of sale in total, helping decrease time spent waiting in line and offering a wide variety of options.
Bank of America Stadium has a family friendly environment that is evident when you walk in the gate. Panther fans are covered in blue, black, and white jerseys that show their support for their team. The Panthers' facility workers are kind and always helpful when needing assistance to a seat.
The stadium itself has a beautiful architectural design that makes getting around the stadium enjoyable, and a decent walk at that. Restrooms are conveniently located on each concourse of the stadium for easy access. The sleek architecture of the stadium allows fans an aesthetically pleasing experience, and plenty of room to fit the 75,000-plus seats. The seating arrangements are comfortable, in terms of leg room, with bright blue seats around the stadium. The stadium offers a great view of the field from any upper or lower seating, and larger buildings in the city like the Duke Energy building can be seen sticking up over the top of the stadium bowl.
The easiest way to the Panthers' side of the stadium is through the south gate right off of Morehead Street. Once seated and ready to enjoy the game, the Black and Blue Fan Patrol does a great job of keeping the energy high and encouraging the fans to cheer on the home team.
Outside of Bank of America's gates, the surrounding neighborhoods are vibrant and charming. After Panther football games, the fans can be seen lining the streets returning to their homes nearby, or their cars to find the excitement and nightlife of uptown Charlotte. There are numerous outlet malls and events around the city.
The traffic in Charlotte can be frustrating to maneuver in. There is a population of over 800,000 people, and the infrastructure of the city layout isn't as refined as a city like Atlanta, for instance, with nearly half of the people to account for.
Charlotte offers a multitude of events and eateries. The Regal Phillips Place Stadium 12 is a great stop for a movie. Catch live music at the Dean & DeLuca Wine Room, or shop around the city from place like Nordstrom, Belk, Dillard's, Macy's and Neiman Marcus.
If you are looking for a convenient hotel to stay at close to the stadium, the Charlotte Marriott City Center is a 4-star hotel, that is also a 14-minute walk from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and 7.9 miles from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. A one night stay at the hotel can run as much as $259.
Panthers fans are as loud and energetic as any as I've seen. Rarely will you find a seat with a Panther fan not layered in Carolina apparel, or joining in with Cam Newton at a touchdown celebration. Panther fans are committed, and vocal about their team, even when their team has fallen behind. Very rarely will you find an unreasonable Panther fan creating a scene in the stadium. You can expect a very pleasant experience, even when coming to cheer on an opposing team.
Fans outside of the stadium will tailgate and prepare for the game, or stay at a local shop or diner in order to watch the game on television. Carolina fosters an environment for everyone to have a great time, and the staff at the Bank of America Stadium do an outstanding job of ensuring just that.
Traffic is the one aspect of attending a Panthers game that will require some preparation and luck. The city infrastructure is not designed in an organized manner that makes it easy and efficient to find decent parking. Parking staff are lined around the stadium and are very knowledgeable of the area, ready to assist with questions related to parking and directions.
Parking near the stadium can range from $10-$30, depending on location. Limited spaces are available for free parking within a reasonable walking distance, but they do exist. For those looking for convenient travel, consider the LYNX light rail. Parking is free and a round trip fare costs just $4.40.
A regular season single-game ticket costs in the $40 range (a playoff ticket can easily run in the $185 range), parking at the game typically runs in the $10 range, a meal and drink can average $10 per person, a hotel stay can run as little as $159 a night, and Panthers merchandise is reasonably priced. The cost of a Panthers game is priced pretty much on average, and well worth the experience. It would be hard to find a Panther fan that had a bad experience, even if the home team doesn't come out with a win. Bank of America Stadium has plenty to offer, with a great environment and great people to match.
The Carolina Panthers have a drum line, called Purrcussion, that adds a great deal of intensity to the game. Very few NFL teams have a drum line, but it adds to the overall fan experience.
Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is played after the Panthers come away with a win. Much like the North Carolina Tar Heels, this is something the two North Carolina sports teams share in common.
Programs are offered at the game, free of charge. Anything to keep the overall cost down at a sports event is helpful, and shows that the organization has the fans' experience at the forefront of their priority list.
There is also a scoreboard that shows scores from other teams playing around the country to help fans decrease the amount of time spent on their phones looking up the same information.
Bank of America Stadium represents an NFL team focusing on the overall fan experience and creating a culture for Panthers fans to thoroughly enjoy. The food is good inside and out of the stadium, and the people and environment are pleasing, as well.
The newer stadium renovations and culture established at the Panthers' stadium makes this a prime location for sports fans and a top NFL stadium.
Member Review by puckhound2469
It's difficult to imagine it was just seventeen years ago when Charlotte was awarded an expansion franchise. The team has had mixed results over the years and reaching the Super Bowl in 2003 remains the proudest moment for the Carolina Panthers organization.
The franchise has done an exceptional job tying in the moniker and color palette with everything they do. Their branding is effective and you can see why the team enjoys successful profitability off the field.
The drum corps (Purrcusion), team dancers (Topcats), mascot (Sir Purr), luxury pre-game areas and stadium (blanketed in "panther" blue seats) all have been cleverly named to advance this agenda and because of these efforts, you will be highly fulfilled after spending an afternoon at Bank of America Stadium watching pro football.
Member Review by cburch_writer on Apr 04, 2010
The Panthers moved into Bank of America Stadium in 1996 after playing their inaugural season at Clemson University Memorial Stadium. Bank of America Stadium is located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte.
This stadium is a great benchmark for the newer stadiums in the NFL. It's heavily guarded by six ferocious bronze Panther statues; below the statues are the names of the PSL owners that helped bring the team to life. Outside of the stadium you can find two more statues worth checking out: One of Mike McCormack, and one of linebacker Sam Mills. These two men have been inducted into the Panthers Hall of Honor.
Member Review by brian on Sep 16, 2013
Many football fans in the Carolinas vividly remember October 23, 1993. On that date, the choice between the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons as the region's "home team" became unnecessary, as the Carolina Panthers were born via a vote of the NFL's owners. After a season in Clemson's Memorial Stadium, the team played its first game in its uptown Charlotte home on September 14, 1996.
The Panthers have made multiple postseason appearances during their time in the Queen City, including three NFC Championship Game appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season. Though the team has fallen on harder times of late, they still employ one of the league's most dynamic stars in quarterback Cam Newton, a loyal -- if sometimes impatient -- fan base and an innovative staff who are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the gameday experience.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Nov 21, 2013
The small footprint leaves few pre-game options in the immediate vicinity. Light rail works very well before and after the game and is not that far. Great fans who were loud for Cam's coming-out party against the Pats. Food was a bit disappointing.
Member Review by hhuntley17 on Jan 02, 2015
Prior to the 1995 expansion, NFL fans in North and South Carolina were without a team to call their own. The Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons were the usual choice, but both were too far away to feel like local teams. The debate ended when Charlotte, NC, was one of the two cities selected for NFL expansion. Since then, the region has totally embraced the team. After spending most of its history in mediocrity, the Panthers are now usual playoff contenders, which creates even more excitement in an already passionate fan base. While Bank of America Stadium is not visually stunning, the fan experience is hard to beat.
Member Review by oldskoolberk on Sep 29, 2015
I haven't done many NFL stadiums, but I definitely like this one. The place is clean, the area is nice, and you get football (though you do feel like you are definitely in a stadium built in the 90's). The sightlines are top notch as well. Add with a competitive football team for about the past decade (save for a few hiccup seasons in between) and you have a great place to watch a game.
FOOD: Most foods are pretty standard with dogs, brats, barbecue (a Carolina staple) and others such as brisket, you have a nice supply of foods to choose from.
ATMOSPHERE: The place is great. Sightlines are fine though you have to scale up to Mt. Everest for the upper level seats. While it isn't a great scenic place, you get a nice, open-air stadium around.
NEIGHBORHOOD: The area is fine, nice, and clean. It offers a lot of food options so you cannot go wrong at all. You also have the new Charlotte Knights baseball park within a few blocks as well. But Charlotte is a great town overall so you really cannot go wrong really anywhere.
FANS: I am a Falcons fan who held season tickets for a few years. I do like my fan base, but I think the Panthers fan base is something else. They are pumped the minute you walk into the game until the game is far over. They are friendly and knowledgeable out the wazoo and won't be afraid to speak their minds.
ACCESS: It isn't entirely too bad, but it depends on what you want to do: walk a while and pay $10-$15 or try to get closer and pay higher? If you do the former, you are in a great area. If you do the latter, it isn't too bad, but you need to make sure you keep an eye on where to go.
ROI: It is okay in terms of prices for tickets and prices for foods & souvenirs. Probably a good bargain for the NFL.
EXTRAS: I really like how they touched up the place for the colors of the team and the panther statues outside. I like how despite being a "young" team, they have a great fan base, and they have some good amenities including a very nice scoreboard that cuts in to keep an eye on the Panther rivals on how they are doing. This is definitely a great NFL experience.
120 North Cedar Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
100 W Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202