ACC Inks Six-Year Extension To Keep Football Title Game In Charlotte
The ACC yesterday announced a "six-year contract extension" that keeps its football championship game in Charlotte through '19, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The city has hosted the game since '10, and the conference during the past four years has "operated on consecutive two-year contracts" with Bank of America Stadium. Attendance for the game from over the past four years "hovered near an average of 70,000" at the 74,000-seat facility. Last year's Florida State-Duke game drew a "reported attendance of 67,694, but upper-deck tarps across some seating sections and many empty seats throughout the stadium made it clear the crowd was considerably smaller." Charlotte Sports Foundation organizers "emphasized the importance of increasing advance ticket sales no matter which schools play in the annual championship." Lagging ticket sales for the ACC Championship in Jacksonville in the game's first three years "led the conference to seek stronger support in Tampa (2008 and 2009) and, later, Charlotte." Financial details were not disclosed, but the arrangement "involves a rental fee for the stadium, unlike the Belk Bowl." ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that conference campaigns to "help sell more tickets in advance of the game are in the works" and he "praised Charlotte for supporting the championship better than any other city." Charlotte Sports Foundation Exec Dir Will Webb said that ticket prices for the '14 game will "be disclosed in the near future" and are "likely to remain the same" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/24). Swofford said, "Charlotte is in the heart of the ACC footprint. It's a terrific destination with tremendous people." Webb said to Swofford, "Our goal is six years from now you’ll be announcing a 20-year extension. We are committed to making this game the best" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/25).
ONE-STOP SHOPPING: The Charlotte Sports Foundation is considering a seat license at Bank of America Stadium that would guarantee the license-holder tickets to the events for which it helps organize and sell tickets -- the ACC title game, the Belk Bowl and, in some years, an additional neutral-site college football game. Webb said that the license would most likely be free, but the license holder would sign a six-year contract to buy tickets to each of the games, and in return, would be guaranteed seats in the same location. Tickets to the Belk Bowl in '13 ranged from $35 to $115, while ACC Championship Game tickets start at $25 and go up to more than $60. The foundation also has the Univ. of North Carolina and the Univ. of South Carolina set to play their '15 season opener in Charlotte. Webb also is negotiating with several teams to play neutral-site openers at BofA Stadium in future years. Those schools are from the five power conferences, plus Notre Dame. Other sites competing with Charlotte for neutral-site season openers include Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami and Orlando (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).