The ACC’s football championship game will stay at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium at least through 2019, the league announced Monday.
The six-year extension means Charlotte will host the game for 10 consecutive years. The ACC has played its title game in Charlotte the past four years, including last season’s game between Florida State and Duke. FSU, the eventual national champion, won that one, 45-7, before a crowd of 67,694.
“Charlotte is in the heart of the ACC footprint,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said as he announced the extension at a news conference at the Carolina Panthers’ home stadium. “It’s a terrific destination with tremendous people.”
Will Webb, the executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, had long lobbied for a multiyear extension. He said publicly to Swofford on Monday: “Our goal is six years from now you’ll be announcing a 20-year extension. We are committed to making this game the best.”
The ACC title game had a three-year run in Jacksonville and a two-year stint in Tampa before coming to Charlotte in 2010, where it has generally seen far better ticket sales. The game has sold out twice in four years and averaged about 70,000 tickets sold, Swofford said. Another plus: the ongoing renovation of Bank of America Stadium, which Swofford said will promise a better in-game experience for fans.
Charlotte has long wanted to be to the ACC title game what Atlanta has been to the SEC’s football title game – a permanent host. That will now happen for at least the next six years, although the ACC had had some internal discussion of allowing the team with the best regular-season record to host the game.
“From a competitive standpoint, our coaches and teams really prefer a neutral site,” Swofford said. “So quite frankly, with the success the game has had here in Charlotte in every way, that conversation didn’t really grow legs.”
Webb said the six-year extension will open the door to a likely sale of “Collegiate Seat Licenses,” in which fans were guaranteed the same seat for the ACC title game, the Belk Bowl (which also has a deal through 2019) and the North Carolina-South Carolina football game in 2015.
The CSL likely would be free when it is first offered, Webb said, as long as fans agree to buy tickets for each of those games. The 2014 ACC title game will be played on Dec. 6.
Fowler: 704-358-5140; Twitter: @scott_fowler
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