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ACC, Charlotte look ahead to even better things
GREENSBORO, N.C. – It seemed like a perfect match in 2010, when the Atlantic Coast Conference first took its Football Championship Game to Charlotte’s Bank of America.
Four years and close to 280,000 fans later, the bond felt all the more secure. And so it came as little surprise earlier this week, when the two parties announced an agreement that will keep the game in the Queen City through 2019.
“Charlotte has been an outstanding partner and continues to facilitate the growth and success of the game and our many ancillary events that make this annual weekend a true celebration of ACC Football,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “In addition to the support that the Charlotte Sports Foundation provides, I would also like to commend the entire Charlotte community for its energy in embracing this game and weekend.
“I’d also like to commend (Charlotte Sports Foundation members) Johnny Harris, Will Webb, Tom Skains and Steve Luquire for their tireless efforts and support all year round. They’re friends of the ACC and represent all that is good about this community.”
Charlotte’s central ACC location – which still holds true with Louisville coming on board as a conference member this July 1 – isn’t the only thing that makes it a natural as the ACC’s continued title game destination.
Bank of America Stadium is in the midst of a $65 million renovation that will make the already attractive facility all the more appealing to those attending the games,
Two high-definition video boards, which stand 63 feet high by 212 feet long, will be installed in both end zones. The boards are more twice the size of those that were previously in place. Extra-wide escalators at each of the entry gates will provide fans with quicker and easier access to the upper levels.
Five-foot high “ribbon boards” will encircle the field above the mezzanine level will display scores, stats and advertising during games. The sound system has also been upgraded. In addition, participating ACC teams and media will notice upgrades in the “backstage” areas, including the locker rooms and the Panthers’ auditorium.
“Charlotte is in the heart of the ACC footprint and a terrific destination with tremendous people,” Swofford said. “It’s also home to one of the finest facilities in Bank of America Stadium that is run by owner Jerry Richardson and led by President Danny Morrison. These gentlemen and their staff make it an absolute pleasure for our league and specifically our players, coaches, alumni and fans. I can’t thank them enough and look forward to the years ahead.”
With a six-year contract in place, the ACC and Charlotte are hopeful of building a tradition that will involve a large portion of a conference fan base that looks ahead with collective optimism. The ACC set an NCAA record by placing 11 teams in bowl games in 2013, and all 11 of those teams finished with winning records. Louisville will enter the ACC following a 2013 season in which the Cardinals compiled a 12-1 record that included a win in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
“In our first four years at Bank of America Stadium, five different league teams have played in the game, including this year’s National Champion Florida State, Orange Bowl Champion Clemson, as well as Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, all of whom were among the NCAA record 11 teams that played in the postseason this year,” Swofford noted.
That should translate to some showcase matchups in the Queen City throughout the remainder of the decade. Keep the first weekend of December open on your calendar.