Bojangles’ Coliseum – Carolina Energy
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Second Fiddle in Charlotte
The southeastern United States has seen a resurgence of indoor football of late, with several new teams being created in the past couple of years in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The Carolina Energy are one such team, formed in 2017 and now part of the newly created American Arena League (AAL), which was founded in 2018 out of a merger between two other indoor football leagues. The Carolina Energy play their home games at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC.
Bojangles’ Coliseum opened in 1955 as a multi-purpose venue, and over the years has hosted concerts and numerous sporting events, including basketball, hockey, and indoor football. The coliseum’s main tenant is the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, who played here from 1993-2005, and now play here again since 2015, but starting in 2018 the Carolina Energy also call Bojangles’ Coliseum home.
Food & Beverage 3
Bojangles’ Coliseum actually has a pretty good food and beverage selection during Carolina Energy games; the selection is a bit better during Charlotte Checkers games when more tickets are sold and more fans are in attendance, but you definitely won’t go hungry while watching indoor football here.
Food selections include mammoth BBQ sandwiches (or BBQ nachos), Bojangles’ Cajun Filet Sandwiches or Chicken Supremes, hot dogs, nachos, fries, popcorn and kettle corn, pretzels, ice cream, packaged candy, cotton candy, and funnel cake, with prices ranging from $3 to $8, which is cheaper than a lot of sports venues. You can also find bottled or fountain soda ($4-$5), bottled water ($3), coffee and hot cocoa ($2), Monster energy drinks ($5), fresh-squeezed or frozen lemonade ($4-$6), and beer in cans or on draft (starts at $8) – there is even a beer garden behind one of the end zones.
Bojangles’ Coliseum is a decent venue, but Carolina Energy games do not show it off well. The venue is clearly geared toward the Charlotte Checkers, and fans will see plenty of hockey signage and banners decorating the walls and ceilings, and not much at all showcasing the Energy. The field turf itself is also a bit of an eyesore, with logos of old teams still visible in the hand-me-down end zones, and patches in other areas. In addition, the massive scoreboard that hangs from the ceiling sits mostly unused, as there are no video replays shown – only the small score strip at the bottom follows the action on the field.
The Carolina Energy staff also have some odd entertainment during breaks in the action, including a sales pitch by one of the event sponsors, and little kids dancing and doing the limbo. There is also no mascot, and unlike other American Arena League venues, fans at Bojangles’ Coliseum are not allowed to keep balls that go into the stands, which is kind of a staple at indoor football games, and one of the big reasons for going.
On the plus side all the seats are chairbacks, and you can sit wherever you want no matter what tickets you buy, since the games are nowhere near sold out. Also, in this 8,600-seat venue you are so close to the action that there literally isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Bojangles’ Coliseum is a couple of miles southeast of downtown Charlotte, and is located in a largely residential area, so there aren’t many restaurants in the immediate vicinity except fast food joints. However, Midwood Smokehouse is on the way to downtown, and is a great choice for local BBQ; there are also plenty of great restaurants (as well as hotels) in the downtown area.
If you plan to be in town for the day or weekend, Ovens Auditorium is part of the same entertainment complex as Bojangles’ Coliseum, and hosts numerous plays and other events, so could be worth a visit while in town. In addition, the Billy Graham Library is said by many to be the number one attraction in Charlotte, so that would also be a great way to spend some time while in the area.
Since the Carolina Energy are so new, they have not yet built up a solid fan base – as such, you won’t see very many fans at a typical game (perhaps as few as 500 to 1,000). However, if the team can maintain their so far solid performance on the field (read high-scoring offense), the attendance at Bojangles’ Coliseum should improve over time.
Attending a Carolina Energy game really couldn’t be easier – you can park right outside the main entrance at Bojangles’ Coliseum for $8, there are plenty of stalls in the bathrooms, and no lines to speak of at the concessions, due to the small crowd size, so getting in and out (and moving around while inside) will be no trouble whatsoever.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Carolina Energy games start at $12, which is pretty standard for indoor football, although you can get buy-one-get-one free on the more expensive seats, which works out to be only a few dollars more. However, there isn’t any reason to buy the better seats, as the venue will be so empty you can pretty much sit wherever you want.
Whether or not you will enjoy an Energy game at Bojangles’ Coliseum depends on whether or not you like football – if you do, this is a wonderful, hassle-free experience where you can see a lot of great offense and a lot of hard hitting (you can literally hear the pads banging together from your seat). That said, it does lack the crowd noise of a higher profile sports team, but you also have to pay a lot less here.
Bojangles’ Coliseum itself is a nice venue, recently renovated in order to bring the Charlotte Checkers back across town to the facility (the Checkers previously played at Spectrum Center), and fans at Carolina Energy games benefit from these upgrades: solid concessions, great restrooms, a wide concourse, and comfortable seats. Having indoor football back in Charlotte after a 7-year hiatus is also a plus.
If you crave football in the off season, give the Carolina Energy at Bojangles’ Coliseum a try – even though there won’t be a ton of fellow fans in attendance, you should still have an enjoyable time.
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