Truist Field – Charlotte Knights
Photos by Dave Berger and Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Truist Field 324 S Mint St Charlotte, NC 28202
Year Opened: 2014 Capacity: 10,200
Truist Field is the Grand Jewel for Charlotte
This downtown jewel of a ballpark enters its 7th year (opened in 2014 as BB&T Ballpark). For the 2021 season, with the merger between Suntrust and BB&T banks, the park has been rebranded as Truist Field. The merger caused major ballpark rebranding here as well as Atlanta, Winston Salem, and High Point.
Not much has changed, beyond the branding in the last few years, and that shouldn’t be surprising. As one of the consistently highest-ranked minor league parks in the country, there really wasn’t a lot they needed to do to “freshen up” as they reopened for the 2021 season.
Food & Beverage 5
Charlotte has always done well on concessions, with great variety and a selection of standard ballpark fare in addition to local specialties. That hasn’t changed. Mac’s Speed Shop has taken over the barbecue concession, with a large stand near the main entrance, and a cart on the third base side. Their brisket nachos are a standout.
If there are any complaints, it is largely based on pricing. Charlotte is a town with major league sports options, between NASCAR, the NBA’s Hornets, and the NFL’s Panthers, so fans are accustomed to paying “big league” prices. A hot dog and fries will run for $8.25. A cheeseburger and fries can run as much as $12. Souvenir domestic draft beers are $8.50, and bottled sodas (Pepsi products) are $4.50.
While Charlotte has been fully reopened for the bulk of the 2021 season, crowds are not what they were before. Weekends are averaging about 20% below capacity, and good seats are readily available for weekdays.
A big part of the charm is the beautiful city backdrop beyond the outfield walls. As city stadiums go, it’s just perfectly positioned to take advantage of the skyline. Even as new construction has brought more towers into focus, the view is still amazing.
There’s a nice balance of social visitors, and people paying close attention to the action, so whatever experience you’re looking for (kid-friendly, young professional socializing or baseball fans) you can find your people.
As locals call it, Downtown Charlotte (or Uptown) offers every option imaginable, and most of it is walkable from the ballpark. There are restaurants everywhere, plenty of hotels, and some great rooftop spots for an after-game cocktail. A few years ago, the place to go would have been The Epicentre, an entertainment complex just a few blocks out beyond the center field gates. Unfortunately, that center is in a state of significant transition, after a few violent incidents, and several tenants not surviving the pandemic. Despite the aforementioned events, Charlotte in general is a very safe city for walking and exploring.
The newness of the park has worn off a bit, so the composition of the crowd has changed as well. Minor League Baseball is and always will be family entertainment, but the contingent of people using the ballpark as a place to be seen, and met up with random friends has declined. More options have sprung up along the South Blvd corridor for bar crawling. Generally, this is an improvement for the fan experience, as a greater percentage of the crowd is here for the game on the field.
Every method of transportation in the Charlotte Metro area is designed to get you to the Uptown area. The ballpark is convenient by car, bus, and light rail. Parking is still pretty inexpensive for a downtown ballpark. The Duke Power deck adjoins the stadium and charges $5 on game days.
Return on Investment 4
The Knights offer a first class experience, but they are charging first class prices. Standing room tickets are the lowest price at $14, and standard field box seats are $23. The premium experiences of the Home Plate Club $35 and the Upper Club $60 seats include some food options in the prices. The team store is also on the pricey side, with expensive Nike Dri-Fit gear. A team jersey will run over $100, and a polo shirt with a logo is around $60.
The Knights are also the home for the city’s 4th of July celebration, so tickets on that day include some of the best fireworks in the Southeast. The play area behind the scoreboard has been closed since the pandemic but is likely to reopen next year (2022). When the Knights hit a home run (and this park is offense friendly), a giant dragon spews smoke and fire alongside the scoreboard. Homer the Dragon remains one of the best mascots in the minors.
The park has a lot of shade and cover from the two-tier deck, and you can walk fully around the ballpark and view the action from the concourse just about everywhere.
The Knights maintain a regular promotion schedule, but their popular autograph nights have been suspended for the most part, due to the offseason of uncertainty, they just weren’t booking guests. I would imagine these will return in 2022.
Truist Field offers views of downtown Charlotte that might be unsurpassed in Triple-A baseball. The ballpark features an array of food, a selection of beverages, a team shop with almost every kind of team logo cap and shirt, and seating areas from numerous vantage points. This jewel of a ballpark has continued to show why it is so well thought of by fans and ballpark travelers alike.