More college football games between North Carolina and South Carolina are coming to Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Sports Foundation executive director Will Webb told the Observer on Monday.
“We’re very close on a deal for at least two more games,” Webb said.
The Tar Heels and Gamecocks are already playing in Charlotte this season: at 6 p.m. Thursday on ESPN in what’s being called the Belk College Kickoff. Webb said dates for the future games aren’t set, but should be soon.
The North Carolina-South Carolina rivalry is an old one, but has only been rekindled in recent seasons. They played regularly when South Carolina was a member of the ACC, and continued to face each other throughout the 1970s and ’80s. The Tar Heels and Gamecocks, however, didn’t play between 1992 and 2006. They opened the 2013 season in Columbia, a 27-10 South Carolina victory.
About 50,000 tickets have been sold for Thursday’s game in the Carolina Panthers’ 73,298-seat stadium. Originally scheduled for Saturday, the game was moved to Thursday to accommodate ESPN.
There are challenges to having a game on Thursday.
Webb, who said the attendance goal is “the low- to mid-50,000s,” said the Thursday date might be adversely affecting ticket sales. While most of the stadium’s lower bowl is sold out, many seats in the upper bowl remain available in a price range of $64-$83.
Webb said both schools sold out their allotments of 12,500 tickets, with South Carolina asking for extra.
“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.”
Thursday’s contest will be the 31st college football game played in Bank of America Stadium – 13 bowl games, five ACC championships and now 13 regular-season matchups. Webb’s Charlotte Sports Foundation wants to continue to bring season-opening games to Charlotte. It has already scheduled a matchup between Tennessee and West Virginia for 2018.
FBS in Charlotte
Previous NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision regular-season games played in Bank of America Stadium:
East Carolina 50, N.C. State 29
North Carolina 37, N.C. State 34 (OT)
East Carolina 30, West Virginia 23
North Carolina 10, N.C. State 6
N.C. State 52, East Carolina 14
Clemson 63, Temple 9
East Carolina 27, Virginia Tech 22
South Carolina 56, East Carolina 37
* Thursday game