Bank of America Stadium (formerly known as Carolinas Stadium and Ericsson Stadium) is a 73,504-seat football stadium located on 33 acres (130,000 m²) of land in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. It is the home facility of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise. It also hosts the annual Meineke Car Care Bowl which features teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East. It will host the 2010 and 2011 ACC Championship Games The stadium has also been the site for several games featuring the East Carolina University Pirates.
The organization had considered several possible sites for the stadium's location before choosing the Charlotte center city site. Part of the site was occupied by the historic Good Samaritan Hospital.
One alternative was near NASCAR's Lowes Motor Speedway and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in northeast Mecklenburg County. Another was at the intersection of I-85 and US-74 in western Gaston County. A popular option was to locate the facility near Carowinds amusement park, with the 50 yard line being on the state border of North Carolina and South Carolina.
The stadium, originally known as Carolinas Stadium (this name is used when the stadium hosts FIFA events), opened in 1996, as Ericsson Stadium after the Swedish telecom company LM Ericsson purchased the naming rights to the stadium in a 10 ten year, $25 million agreement. In 2004, the stadium received its current name after Bank of America purchased the naming rights for 20 years. Since Bank of America has acquired naming rights, many fans now refer to the stadium as "The Vault", "The Bank", or "The BOA".
The Panthers played their Inaugural Season at Clemson University's Memorial Stadium while the stadium was being completed. The Carolina Panthers played their first game at the stadium on September 14, 1996.
The Panthers are undefeated in playoff games at Bank of America Stadium. In 1996, on their way to their first NFC Championship Game, they defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys. Again they defeated the Cowboys on their way to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004.
At the time of its construction in the early 1990s, the stadium was a pioneering project for the use of Personal Seat Licenses. It was the first large-scale project funded in the United States chiefly through securing PSLs. The strength of PSL pledges impressed NFL owners and resulted in the Carolinas receiving the first new expansion team in nearly two decades.
The stadium is also credited with being a major cause for the recent round of new stadium construction in the NFL. Only a decade after its construction, it is now among the oldest third of current NFL stadiums. There are only nine older NFL stadiums which have not received major renovations. The last two to open before the stadium broke ground were the Georgia Dome in 1992 and Dolphin Stadium in 1987.
Since Bank of America Stadium opened in 1996, twenty-one other teams have moved into new facilities, an average of 1.9 new facilities' opening each year. The design's innovations, which have been copied in many of the newer stadiums, have meant that no major upgrades are needed in the near future. Management is adding new HD Video Scoreboards.