If you aren’t convinced yet of Charlotte’s emergence as a big-time host for sporting events, I’m not sure what it will take to get you onboard.
But let me throw just five national-level future events out there to get you thinking about it. Charlotte is already guaranteed to host:
▪ The 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
▪ The 2017 PGA Championship.
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▪ The 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament (early rounds).
▪ The 2019 ACC men’s basketball tournament.
▪ The ACC football title game every year from now through 2019 (the next one will be played on Dec. 5, 2015).
What Charlotte has done as a community is superb. I think it would be a major upset if Charlotte gets one of the national football championship games it is gunning for in either 2019 and 2020 because of weather concerns – that announcement will come by November. But this has already been an extraordinary run. Kudos to all those involved, and especially the Charlotte Sports Foundation.
▪ HELLO? IS ANYBODY THERE? With that said, I am surprised at how many tickets are left for the North Carolina-South Carolina football game in Charlotte on Sept. 3. Will Webb, the sports foundation’s driving force, said the event had sold “north of 40,000” tickets this week and had not started its big advertising push yet.
But in a 73,000-seat stadium – and with two of the Carolinas’ pre-eminent programs locked in – that’s a very modest number.
Sticker shock has to be part of the problem. I looked on Ticketmaster online Friday and the cheapest seats were $70.86, which equated to $83.24 apiece when you added in all the service fees.
I know college football is expensive, but that really sounds like too much to a lot of people. Tickets for Carolina Panthers home games and the ACC football title game can both be had for a good bit less. If you take a family of four to USC-UNC, you’re going to spend $400 by the time you park and feed everybody.
▪ GORDON VICTORY? If Jeff Gordon wins Sunday’s Brickyard 400 – in the state where he grew up learning to drive, in his final race at the vaunted Indianapolis Motor Speedway track – get ready once again for the old cries of NASCAR being fixed.