Bank of America Stadium can hold 73,298 fans, but for Thursday night’s Belk College Kickoff between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks, 20,000 of those seats will be empty. You’d think a game between two of the bordering state’s top schools would be a big draw, but with upper level seats going for $70 a pop, fans are opting to watch the game from home or at one of the local bars in Uptown Charlotte.
“The last time I checked, the upper-level was about $75-$80 and they went up to $280…and that was in the 300 section. I’d rather watch the game uptown for free and get the same excitement with a better view,” said Charlotte resident and South Carolina fan Tonia Barrett.
Steve Spurrier feels the same way.
“That’s Super Bowl prices,” Spurrier said. “I think that’s a little too steep or else we could fill the ballpark.”
Executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Will Webb, said the prices were set years ago and also attributes the lagging sales to the game being played on a Thursday evening.
“The ticket prices were set a couple of years ago and we looked at the four major games this year, Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston and Dallas; we’re at the third highest for our club seats,” he said. “Our upper deck tickets are not out of line with what other major games are charging. It is what it is. We’re going to look at it and see if we need to re-evaluate those before we do another game.”
“This is a learning curve for us,” he said. “There are challenges to having a game on Thursday – people are coming from work and have to go to work the next day. But ESPN asked if we’d move it, and we said let’s do it.”
“It’s sort of a natural game,” Spurrier said. “They are our border state. It used to be a big game back when both were in the ACC. I think the fans like a game against somebody close by.”“I’m sure they do (view the Gamecocks as a rival). They know where the state of South Carolina is compared to North Carolina. They know it’s a little bit south of us,” Fedora said. “I think the guys are excited about playing in Charlotte, playing in Bank of America Stadium. It should be a lot of fun, and it ought to be a great, great game.”
▪ WHO: South Carolina (0-0) vs. North Carolina (0-0)
▪ WHERE: Bank of America Stadium
▪ WHEN: 6:01 p.m. Thursday
▪ TV: ESPN (Joe Tessitore, play-by-play; Jesse Palmer and David Pollack, analysis; Kaylee Hartung, sideline)
▪ LINE: USC by 2.5