• Search by team or stadium name:

Buy the latest issue of Stadium Journey Magazine - Subscribe Today!

Stadium Journey Sports Magazine Subscriptions

BB&T Ballpark

Charlotte, NC

Home of the Charlotte Knights

4.4

N/A

BB&T Ballpark (map it)
324 S Mint St
Charlotte, NC 28202


Charlotte Knights website

BB&T Ballpark website

Year Opened: 2014

Capacity: 10,000

There are no tickets available at this time.

Reviews

Local Information

Share
this

BB&T Ballpark a Grand Jewel for Charlotte

Charlotte has finally opened its new downtown ballpark for the AAA Charlotte Knights, and so far, it has been a tremendous hit. Despite the long political struggle to get the park built, there’s a tremendous appetite in town to see this beautifully-set ballpark add a vibrant new corner to Uptown Charlotte.

This review is primarily based on Opening Night, April 11, 2014, when the Knights had a standing-room-only crowd, and some of the logistics are still being worked out. While overall, I believe I’m giving the park high marks, there is room for expected improvement as they work out the ins and outs of dealing with crowds five times as large as they experienced in Fort Mill, SC during their final year there.

4.4

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    4

The offerings are many and varied, and it seems like they are just getting started. The Knights have all the standard fare you would expect, but have also made a point of bringing in a nice helping of local flavor.

This is North Carolina, so let's start with the barbecue, provided by local favorite, Queen City Q. They have stands at the ends of both baselines, but the primary placement is in right field near the team store. Sandwiches and plates are available, and their offerings are quite good. Meat is smoked on-site, so it's fresh and tasty.

Ballpark nachos are a bellwether for me. If a park goes the dry chips and a cheese cup route, they've lost me. Fortunately, the Knights have employed a local chain, Salsarita's, and your nachos are a fully-assembled mix of cheese, chips and toppings, the way nature intended. These are very popular, and a sign that things are done right.

Beyond the standard beer offerings, there are a number of local brews available, and a Beer Garden offering plastic "Mason Jars" of drafts is down the third base line. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is offering an exclusive craft beer, "A Knight's Ale," an IPA available only at the ballpark.

The only negatives from opening night were that I ran into credit card machine failures at three different stands over the course of the night, and a generously proportioned bratwurst combo (with kettle chips for $9) was supposed to be served with peppers and onions, but they were out of condiments in the second inning.

Atmosphere    4

Charlotte is psyched about its new downtown ballpark. Fans are coming out in record numbers, and Knights games are the new big thing. After nearly 10 years of total apathy, it's really great to see as a baseball fan. The city is energized, and it shows in ticket sales. The Knights are leading the minors in attendance in the early part of the season.

There's a palpable buzz in the park, between the standard seating bowl, the concourse and the party decks. The concourse wraps completely around the park, and people are just walking around throughout the game, taking it all in from all angles. There's a play zone in center field, behind the batter's eye, a picnic area in left, and a two-story Home Run Porch in right. All these touches add a new energy to the stadium, with unique and varied viewpoints.

Neighborhood    5

The immediate neighborhood is still emerging, as the ballpark has stimulated new development in an area of urban Charlotte that had previously been somewhat neglected. Nearby Bank of America Stadium never generated much development, due to the fact that it has been rarely utilized beyond the 10 days a year that football has been played. At a minimum, the 72 game days the Knights are bringing has provided a greater impact for nearby businesses.

Before or after games, fans flock to Mellow Mushroom for pizza, American Roadside for burgers, or Valhalla for an intimate pub scene. A few blocks further opens up all sorts of dining and entertainment options on Tryon St. and College Street. The Epicenter is a four-story dining and entertainment complex, with everything from bars and restaurants, live music, a theater and a bowling alley.

For something unique to Charlotte, try Green's Lunch, an old-school lunch counter just beyond the center field wall, at Poplar and 3rd Street. Green's has been an institution for the last 87 years, and serves a great southern style dog (chili, mustard, onions and slaw) for a very reasonable price. Presidents have dined here, and you can too. Green's is definitely worth a visit as a step back in time.

Fans    3

Charlotte has a long, but fickle history with its baseball fans. College basketball still rules the area, and the Panthers are a solid second in hearts and minds. Still, opening night tickets were selling for over $150 on resale sites, fifteen times their face value.

The enthusiasm of the "new and shiny" is bringing a lot of folks out to the ballpark, but not necessarily for the baseball. At the opener, there was a lot of loud, drunk heckling of the third base coach for being out of the coach's box, which degraded into minor ethnic slurs.

On the positive side, there were lots of Charlotte and major league jerseys in the park, of varying vintages. The fans also pressured to throw back opposing home run balls. In fact, at one point after a visiting home run was thrown back, one of the coaches picked up the ball, and gave it to a kid near the dugout. The child then proceeded to throw that one back too, to a vibrant round of applause.

There's a place for baseball in Charlotte, and as the newness wears off, it will be exciting to see if the fan base both grows and matures. If Charlotte can sustain the attendance and grow the base, they will be in line for a long and sustained run of success.

Access    5

Due to the downtown nature of the park, and improvements made to support Panther traffic over the years, getting to BB&T Ballpark is a breeze. From the suburbs, all the major commuting routes are available to bring you to the area, as well as mass transit options in the bus system and the light rail line to the south.

Parking shouldn't cost more than $5 within a few blocks from the park, as for games all of the corporate towers have parking decks that are thrilled for the opportunity for new revenues after the office workers have gone home for the evening. If you want to be close, try parking in the Ally Center at Church Street and Levine Ave of the Arts, or the corporate decks on Church and 4th Street.

Return on Investment    5

The Knights offer everything you can ask for in a modern minor league park. For a top-end ticket price of $16 ($18 if purchased day of game), you get a great seat and a great day of baseball. Concession prices are in line with what you'd expect, and there are opportunities to save with discounts on Mondays, and Thirsty Thursdays. Considering the soaring prices for major league sports, the Knights offer a high level of competition for a very affordable price point.

Extras    5

The Knights spared no expense in the seating bowl. Rather than maximizing capacity, seats vary in width and go as wide as 24 inches, 33 percent wider than a standard 18-inch stadium seat. Even if you're not in a bigger seat, their existence spreads everyone out, and you're not packed in. Legroom is also plentiful, as people are often able to easily pass you without having to get up to let you pass. The Knights also upgraded from standard metal bleachers to full seats with backs in the outfield sections, so even the lowest-priced ticket is comfortable.

The Knights' main video board is the widest in the minors, and provides crystal clear video replays and stats. Outside the park, facing Romare Bearden Park, there's another video board that the Knights have used to broadcast game action to folks who couldn't get into the game.

The team is making great efforts to focus on a local flavor, and to maximize the fan experience. While they may still be working out the kinks of a new park and a new level of attendance, they should be commended for their focus on the fan.

Final Thoughts

It's early, but BB&T Ballpark may already be in the top five minor league experiences, along with parks like Coca Cola Field in Lehigh Valley. Time will tell if they are able to maintain, but right now, Charlotte is back on the minor league map and this park is a must-see.

Gorgeous Park

Not much left to say....not a bad seat in the house on any game day, the Knights even made it comfortable for the standing room only crowd with table tops behind the seats. All of the seats have great sight lines, and the staff goes out of their way to be helpful and friendly. The food is generally good, especially at a ballpark. The beer selection is better than most, and being next to Romare Bearden Park makes meeting up with friends or hanging out with kids before the game a great experience. I can't wait to take my out of town baseball friends here.

by Eldande | May 03, 2014 04:23 AM

Following up

Attended the game last night, and the park is even more enjoyable with a 75% crowd. they're still working through customer service bugs (Queen City Q was out of pork and out of mac and cheese in the 3rd inning, and credit card machines were touchy at a few stands).
However, I want to put a flag in the ground and say that the Salsarita's Nachos ($9.50), are quite likely the best ballpark nachos in the country. I've seen that Memphis gets top marks for their BBQ Nachos, but I think that's primarily about the BBQ.

The Salsarita's version doesn't use foodservice tortilla rounds, they use the same house-made variety they use in their restaurants, which are a huge cut above. Then they load it up with tons of lettuce, tomatoes, and seasoned grilled chicken.

Also, instead of the standard neon yellow industrial nacho cheese pump, they're using a nice light real queso. Makes all the difference in the world.

So far, this is the must-have food item at BB&T... serves probably 2-3 for $9.50 and weighs about 2 lbs.

by davidberger | May 07, 2014 09:19 AM

You must be a Stadium Journey member to post a comment.

Already a member? Sign in or Create a Stadium Journey Account

-- OR --

Crowd Reviews

Share your thoughts about BB&T Ballpark

Local Food & Drink

Green's Lunch  (map it!)

309 West 4th St

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 332-1786

http://www.greenslunch.com

American Roadside Burgers  (map it!)

440 S Church St

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 335-3352

http://www.americanroadside.com

Valhalla Scandinavian Pub & Eatery  (map it!)

317 S Church St

Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 332-3273

http://www.valhallapub.com

Local Entertainment

Lodging

w

© 2017 Stadium Journey