A total renovation of the field, more lower-level craft beer options and newly redesigned clubs on the 300 and 400 levels are some of the major changes that fans can expect at Bank of America Stadium this season.
The Carolina Panthers’ current phase of renovations – part of a five-year, public-private financing agreement with the City of Charlotte – has cost $47 million, $17 million of which has come from the city, according to Scott Paul, the Panthers’ executive director of stadium operations.
“We wouldn’t be where we were if it weren’t for the help of the city,” Paul said.
Fans can see the latest updates at Bank of America Stadium for the first time Friday during Fan Fest. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are $5.
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The entire 100-level concourse was renovated like the 500-level was during the last off season. One of the biggest changes fans will notice is the revamped concession-stand configurations designed to sell more food and drinks and get people through lines faster.
As was the case on the 500-level, pourable drinks (like fountain sodas) were removed from the fixed concession stands on the 100-level and put at all-you-can-drink stands nearby. Free-standing beer stands, including a 100-level craft beer bar that doubled its number of taps due to high demand, is available separate from other concessions.
The Panthers also completely gutted and renovated the 300- and 400-level clubs. New tile, new carpet, LED lighting, bigger high-definition TVs, and new furniture with more seating were all also added.
Outside the stadium, one change fans driving down Morehead Street will notice is a new technology building near the Mint Street intersection. It will house the cellular equipment designed to make it easier for fans to use their mobile devices in the stadium, Paul said.
“We want to give our fans every reason to come to the stadium. We know the younger generation watches sports differently. Of course, we want everyone in the bowl cheering on the Panthers during the course of play,” Paul said.
The Panthers also added four suite terraces with 28 seats each to the 300 level. Available to Permanent Seat License holders (PSL), the suites marginally increase the capacity of Bank of America Stadium.
On the field, the Panthers spent $800,000 on a complete renovation, something that hasn’t been done in 22 years, Paul said. The work has included adding a new irrigation and drainage system, replacing the soil and re-sodding.
The latest round of stadium renovations is part of a deal the Panthers agreed to with the city of Charlotte in 2013. That year, the Charlotte City Council voted to give the Panthers $87.5 million, of which $75 million would be spent on renovations. In return, the team agreed to remain in Charlotte for at least six years, with penalties if it moves in the four years after that.
Last year’s upgrades included new security measures like body scanners at each entrance and explosives-trained canine units, as well as improved Wi-Fi and revamped concession areas on the 500 level.
Other upgrades over the years to Bank of America Stadium have included renovated club-level suites (some amenities added included retractable windows, more high-definition TVs and a middle aisle), new video and ribbon boards, an enhanced sound system, new exterior lighting and escalators.