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  • Will Halpern

Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte FC

Photos by Will Harpen, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

Bank of America Stadium 800 S Mint St. Charlotte, NC 28202

Year Opened: 1996 Capacity: 75,412


Soccer Thrives in the Queen City

Major League Soccer has rapidly increased in popularity over the last quarter-century from a small league drawing several thousand in cavernous football stadiums to a league with teams in every corner of the US and Canada playing in intimate but raucous soccer-specific stadiums.

In most cases, these stadiums are requirements for a ticket into MLS, but some successful exceptions have included Atlanta United and the Seattle Sounders both setting attendance records, putting soccer on the map in their respective cities and regions, and vaulting in being selected as two of the host cities of the 2026 World Cup.

Over the past decade, the Carolinas was passed over during each round of MLS expansion. Charlotte tried to put itself in the mix during that time, but the wait finally ended on December 17, 2019, when the city was awarded an expansion club in the league for the 2022 season.

The team would play in Bank of America Stadium, an NFL-sized venue that it would share with the Carolina Panthers. There are risks in playing in a stadium of this size; this wasn't any in this case, as the Carolinas quickly embraced the new franchise with a league record of 74,479 in attendance on opening night.

The record-setting MLS attendance on opening night continued throughout their inaugural season. Charlotte FC finished second behind Atlanta in average attendance with an impressive 35,260. Soccer is thriving in the Queen City.

Food & Beverage 4

There is a wide variety of offerings at Bank of America Stadium. The concession stands throughout the concourse offer everything from regional to traditional favorites.

The items include hot dogs, bottomless popcorn, nachos, and Dominos Pizza round out some of the more standard fares. For local favorites turned regional chain Bojangles offers Chicken Supremes and Bo Fries, and premium Loaded Nachos (pulled pork or chicken topped with BBQ, sauce pico de gallo, roasted corn, and jalapenos) Carolina Nachos (pulled pork or chicken topped with cheese, BBQ sauce, and jalapenos).

There is premium and domestic beer, fresh lemonade, and Coca-Cola products with free refill stations are some of the beverages offered, and Dippin Dots Ice Cream is for dessert. There is also a little convenience store area offering snacks and drinks throughout the stadium.

Atmosphere 4

Bank of America Stadium offers an incredible atmosphere for soccer, much as it does for football, which may surprise some people because the seats are wide and comfortable. The seating bowl is also 360 degrees offering a great view of the pitch even if you are in the upper bowl, as well as two large video scoreboards on both ends of the stadium.

In most games, however, the upper bowl is closed, but this may not be the case as ticket demand rises and Charlotte FC starts to become more of a fixture in the community. The concourse, while crowded, is easy to navigate. There are giant screens throughout, so you won’t miss any action while stocking up on food and beverage.

There is also a photo booth, team painting, and a large team store to stock up on the blue and white. Once the upper bowl is open for every match, the stadium has the potential to be among the loudest in MLS.

Neighborhood 5

Bank of America Stadium is a short walk away from countless restaurants, bars, entertainment, and all that Uptown Charlotte offers. The establishments include Fuel Pizza, Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, French Quarter Restaurant, and Mimosa Grill. The Epicenter houses a variety of restaurants, including the 24/7 Redeye Diner. Adjacent to the French Quarter is the Valhalla pub and eatery modeled after a European soccer pub, further adding a more soccer feel to the city.

Charlotte is the state's largest city, with a metro population of over 2.6 million people. There are various entertainment and sports options. Truist Field is near the stadium and home to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. A bit further away is the Spectrum Center that houses the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. While not within walking distance is the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, who play at the Bojangles Coliseum.

Other things to occupy your time include the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte Mint Museum, Imaginon Children's Library and Theater, and the US National Whitewater Center.

Charlotte is also home to an Amtrak, Greyhound station, and a major international airport for those traveling in and out of town. The city is accessible by car via major interstates I-85 and I-77. The Lynx Light rail will take you throughout the city, with the closest stop being 3rd and Tryon.

Fans 5

The fanbase is still buzzing from the electric atmosphere of the inaugural campaign and first home match. Opening night drew an MLS record of 74,479 fans and, throughout the season, was second in the MLS at 35,260 this season on average.

There are five recognized supporter sections: Mint City Collective, Southbound and Crown, Crown Town Syndicate Carolina Hooliganz, and Blue Furia. Fans from throughout the Carolinas came out for Charlotte FC, and the atmosphere was electric, leaving no doubt that MLS made the right choice by expanding to Charlotte.

There are also natural rivalries with other clubs in the southeast, such as Atlanta United, DC United, and others. The fans are also incredibly knowledgeable about the beautiful game; with the recent color change of the Charlotte Knights, three of Queen City’s professional teams have Carolina Blue, silver, white and black colors, along with their co-tenant Carolina Panthers.

There is becoming a more common color theme of the sports franchise within Charlotte, but soccer and its emerging fan base throughout the country are loud and proud at Charlotte FC matches.

Access 4

Bank of America Stadium is easy to access both by car and public transportation. There is a fair amount of parking, with generally half the attendance of Panthers games; parking is a little bit easier to find around the stadium. There are also a lot of parks and ride lots that utilize Lynx Light Rail, including stops at the Carson, Stonewall, and Convention Center stations.

There is also parking throughout Uptown Charlotte that you can utilize for easy walking to the stadium. There is no reserved handicapped parking but handicapped seating throughout the stadium at the front of most sections. The stadium offers a ramp and elevator for the higher levels of the venue.

Return on Investment 4

Parking and ticket prices vary, but they are not too expensive: ticket and parking average about 25-30 dollars each on the low end. The food tends to be a little pricey, with a hot dog, bottomless popcorn, and beer costing $6, $7, and $12, respectively.

A Charlotte FC match with tickets, parking, food, and drink could round around $70-$80 on the low end, which may sound like a lot but is becoming the standard at most top-level professional sporting events.

Extras 3

Charlotte FC earns a point for setting an MLS attendance record and a second point for making the stadium very prominent with signage, colors, and a large team store. The team is not an afterthought at the home of the Panthers. The final point is for the five fantastic and loud supporters section that helped lead the rest of the fans in singing, chanting, and cheering before, during, and after the ninety-minute match.

Final Thoughts

There were questions about whether soccer would be embraced in the Carolinas and whether Bank of America Stadium would be too large of a stadium. Those questions were shattered and put to rest when 74,000-plus attended the opening match. There is more to achieve for the blue and black on the pitch in the seasons to come, but it is clear that Charlotte FC has made its mark in the queen city.

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