Belk Out As Charlotte Bowl, Kickoff Game Title Sponsor
Charlotte-based department store chain Belk will "no longer sponsor" the city's annual bowl game nor the Labor Day weekend kickoff matchup, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. That means the upcoming game at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 31 will be the "ninth and final time it's called the Belk Bowl," though the game itself "is staying." The Charlotte Sports Foundation, which operates the bowl and kickoff games, began discussions in recent months with "several prospective sponsors as it became clearer Belk wouldn't return." Those talks with "unnamed companies continue, but a new deal isn't imminent." Organizers hope to "sell the next sponsorship on potential growth that could come with a new NFL stadium" -- as Panthers Owner David Tepper "wants to build a retractable-roof home field within a decade -- and an expanded College Football Playoff." In '15, N.Y.-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought Belk for $3B, "inheriting the bowl sponsorship." Without the "same local ties, it became much easier for Belk to opt out of the partnership at the end of the contract." For last season's Belk Bowl, in which Virginia beat South Carolina, attendance was 48,263 at the 75,000-seat stadium. The Belk Bowl "last reached 50,000 in attendance -- two-thirds capacity" -- in '11 (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/20).