One of the Carolinas’ venerable football rivalries will be rekindled at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium in 2021.
Appalachian State and East Carolina announced a four-game football series Tuesday that includes a game in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 4, 2021. The Mountaineers and Pirates will also play in Greenville, N.C., on Sept. 14, 2024 and Sept. 5, 2026, as well as in Boone on Sept. 6, 2025.
The series will be the first time the schools have played each other as programs in Football Bowl Subdivision, college football’s highest level. The last time the former Southern Conference rivals played was in 2012 in Greenville, when East Carolina won 35-13 against Appalachian State, then a Football Championship Subdivision program. The Mountaineers, who moved up to FBS in 2014, lead the series 19-12, though the Pirates have won the past six games.
“This makes so much sense,” Appalachian State athletics director Doug Gillin said at a news conference at the stadium. “Now that we’re both FBS, this is going to make for a good rivalry. Both of our fan bases are close to the venue and so they can come. There’s some camaraderie in the rivalry.”
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The game in 2021 will be considered Appalachian State’s home game. Gillin said the Mountaineers will receive a high percentage of ticket revenues. The ECU-Appalachian State game will be rent free, thanks to an agreement between the Carolina Panthers and the City of Charlotte that allows four rent-free dates per year for non-Panthers events.
The ECU-Appalachian State announcement means there is a major-college game scheduled at Bank of America Stadium every season through 2021, including South Carolina-N.C. State in 2017; Tennessee-West Virginia in 2018; North Carolina-South Carolina in 2019; and Wake Forest-Notre Dame in 2020. North Carolina and South Carolina are also scheduled to play in Charlotte in 2023.
With the Mountaineers scheduled, seven of the Carolinas’ nine FBS programs will have played games at Bank of America Stadium (Coastal Carolina joins Appalachian State in the Sun Belt next season).
The Charlotte 49ers, who started football in 2013 and moved to FBS in 2015, haven’t been scheduled for a regular-season game. Duke and Clemson games at the stadium have been in the postseason.
Will Webb, the Charlotte Sports Foundation’s executive director, said he has been in contact with 49ers athletics director Judy Rose about Charlotte possibly playing in the stadium. The 49ers have a home-and-home series scheduled with Appalachian State in 2018 (at the 49ers’ Richardson Stadium) and 2019 (at ASU’s Kidd Brewer Stadium). The 49ers were once in talks with North Carolina about playing a game in Bank of America, but negotiations fell through.