The Carolina Panthers are the pride and joy of residents in both North and South Carolina. The team plays in Bank of America Stadium, which was first opened in 1996. At roughly 20 years of age, the facility is still among the most highly touted and respected stadiums in all of the NFL, and there are actually quite a few reasons for this.
Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, the official seating capacity at Bank of American Stadium is 73,778, which puts it among the leaders in professional football. The stadium itself was built largely as a result of the region being awarded an expansion team in the NFL, and the area really worked hard to design and build one of the premier sporting facilities in the country at that time. They certainly seem to have succeeded. In fact, through the years the only noticeable criticism leveled at the stadium itself revolved around its lack of fans. For much of the Panthers early existence, they just could not seem to field a very competitive team and, as a result they struggled to attract a loyal fan base. Many in this region, because of a lack for a professional team to call their own, supported either the Redskins or Falcons, and this resulted in a largely empty stadium for the longest time. This has all changed in recent years, however, with the arrival of consistently decent play, with the playoffs being within reach. Nowadays, the stadium is full most Sundays during the season, and the atmosphere is electric.
Graphic via draughtcharlotte
Bank of America Stadium was built before some of the modern design features we see on more recent openings were in the works, so it is not necessarily a visually appealing stadium. At the same time, it is an extremely functional building, and many of the designs and features were ahead of their time. In fact, the design team was forward thinking to the point that in an age when other stadiums the same age are beginning to show much wear and are getting bad reviews, Bank of America Stadium still holds its own with some of the elite venue in professional sports.
Many around the NFL rave about the atmosphere in the stadium being among the top the league, putting it on par with teams such as the Packers and Patriots that have a much more established fan base to draw from. The seats all offer a decent view, which is a hallmark of a great venue. People sitting in the either lower or upper bowls feel a part of the action. The design features are rather stale and boring, but this is a similar complaint voiced in other stadiums as well. The staff at Bank of America Stadium comes with a fair bit of Southern charm, and they really seem to do their best to help every fan enjoy their experience.
The neighborhood surrounding the stadium has a great deal to offer as well. There are a variety of shopping, dining, and various other activities to please nearly every type of visitor, all within the surrounding area. This enables from both within and outside the region to enjoy the entire weekend surrounding game day, which puts the complete fan experience up there as one of the best in the NFL, and certainly is a place where anyone would be pleased with the experience.
Graphic via patrickschneider