Renovations recently began at Bank of America Stadium to make the facility ready to have Charlotte FC, the city’s new Major League Soccer team, begin playing there next spring.
The approximately $50 million construction effort includes upgrades to the Lowe’s entrance, a makeover of the fan concourse, the creation of a new central tunnel, new luxury seating and new locker rooms.
Why it matters: Opened in 1996, Bank of America Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL. The latest upgrades, aimed to modernize the facility, were part of a promise David Tepper made to MLS executives as a prerequisite to bringing a team here.
- “The improvements we’re making … will be for fans at all events at Bank of America Stadium, including Panthers football games,” Tepper Sports & Entertainment COO Mark Hart tells Axios Charlotte.
Construction will be ongoing during the Panthers season, Hart says. “We’re hoping it will be a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement.”
Here’s a look at what the stadium will look like next spring. All renderings are courtesy of Populous/Tepper Sports & Entertainment.
Mint Street entrance
One of the first big changes fans will notice is that crews will be moving the two giant bronze black panther statues (called “Indomitable Spirit”) to the side at the entrance. This is a way to free up space, allowing fans to walk into the stadium more quickly and easily, Hart says. “Those statues are iconic and they’re important to millions of people. We just want to move them a little bit and make them part of the presentation, instead of being an obstruction.”
- Another major exterior upgrade is be the addition of a new 210-foot-long LED screen at the entrance, showing high-definition graphics and live game content.
These changes aim to make the Lowe’s entrance a “great iconic gate” greeting fans for all kinds of events at the stadium, Hart says.
Inside the Mint Street entrance, the concourse will look much different than it does today. Two massive LED video screens will wrap around remodeled concession areas and taprooms. They’ll also be programmable, able to show anything from live Charlotte FC matches to Panthers games eventually.
- Inspiration for the boards, Hart says, came from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, where the Panthers played the Buccaneers in 2019.
- On the ceiling of the concourse will be new, color-changing LED accent lighting.
From the seating bowl, Tepper Sports took out several dozen original blue chairs to carve out a central tunnel. This is a key feature in soccer facilities that teams use to walk out from onto the pitch, or field.
Just inside the central tunnel is a club area that team executives are calling a The Vault, which sits underneath the seating bowl. The Vault has capacity for about 250 people, Hart says.
- There are also 12 recently completed field-level gallery suites with capacity for 12 people each.
Charlotte FC will have sleek new home team locker rooms connecting out to the central tunnel, filled with team colors and logos and a modern design.