When I moved to Charlotte in 1994 there were exactly zero professional sports teams in the downtown area. Now there are 4: Panthers, Bobcats, Knights, and Charlotte Hounds Lacrosse.
With the season kicking off in less than two months, I wanted to take a look at what the newest addition, BB&T Ballpark, means for the Knights and for Charlotte as a whole. For starters, it means more money all around. The new stadium brings the addition of at least 70 new events (reg season home games) to uptown, with the potential to draw 10,000 patrons to the park on a given night. The dollar amount on the economic impact that draw will have on uptown is large to say the least.
The club has done little to promote the move outside of press coverage and a logo change, yet ticket sales and sponsorships are way up. Club seats are sold out… for the entire season. I know that’s hard to believe for anyone that visited Knight’s Stadium over the past few years.
Tickets are still dirt cheap, starting at $8, the same as a high school football game, and every seat offers a great view and a much more intimate experience than you get next door or down the road (Bank of America Stadium & Time Warner Cable Arena).
Believe me when I say restaurant owners, parking garages, vendors, and even home owners in the uptown area are smiling with anticipation. And the city of Charlotte is ecstatic to be able to offer it’s young professionals something to do uptown outside of the bar scene. Not to mention the bars are happy to have their best customers around more frequently. If you are a sports fan, the move to uptown makes the games more accessible. If you aren’t, you’re still more likely to attend a game with the stadium smack dab in the middle of the city. Just to drive my point home: the estimated population density in the area surrounding the old Knight’s Stadium = 662/sq. mile (2012); BB&T Ballpark = 2,440/sq. mile (2010). Housing values, specifically on the revitalized north end of uptown, will go up. You will see new bars and restaurants (and hopefully some rebuilding of run down, established restaurants) in that area. Your average weeknight at the Epicenter still won’t be crazy crowded, but you should see a little more action on game nights. That’s right, the new stadium even benefits party-goers.
I’m not saying people are chomping at the bit to run inside the stadium every night, but I think we all can at least be excited to have something else to do downtown.