Since the Carolina Panthers were founded in 1995, the organization has made it pretty clear that their stadium is primarily to be used for football, and occasionally for soccer, but very rarely — nearly never, in fact — for concerts.
Well, the team seems to be changing its tune in regards to major standalone music events.
On Tuesday morning, at a press conference in Bank of America Stadium’s team meeting room, the Panthers and behemoth concert promoter Live Nation announced that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel will perform at the uptown venue on Saturday, April 18, 2020.
The show will mark the first concert there in almost eight years. Country stars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw brought their “Brothers of the Sun Tour” to the stadium in June 2012. (The only other show in Panthers history? The Rolling Stones in October 1997, back when it was Ericsson Stadium.)
But while Joel’s plans to grace the space are hugely significant, this news is even bigger: The team says there will be a lot more where that came from.
“Live music is back at Bank of America Stadium, and we are delighted to begin this new era with the one and only Billy Joel,” Carolina Panthers president Tom Glick said in a press release. “This will be the first of many shows as we bring fans from up and down the East Coast to uptown Charlotte for more music, entertainment and sports.”
The Joel announcement and Glick’s promise are in line with second-year owner David Tepper’s past statements that holding more events such as concerts at the stadium is a priority.
And it represents a big shift from the philosophy under previous owner Jerry Richardson; in a 2016 interview with the Observer about the lack of concerts, Panthers vice president of stadium operations Scott Paul cited several reasons why they were extremely selective — including cost-prohibitive production expenses, preservation of the playing field, parking issues and parking-revenue-sharing, and the simple fact that “we’re in the business of football, and that’s what we want to do,” he said then.
At the time, pop star Beyonce had just announced a spring show at Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium. Since then, Wake Forest’s BB&T Field has hosted Guns N’ Roses (in 2017) and Columbia’s Williams-Brice Stadium has hosted a Beyonce and Jay-Z double-bill (in 2018). During the same time span, Bank of America Stadium hosted dozens of football games, five soccer matches, and zero concerts.
But Tuesday’s news from the Panthers opens up intriguing possibilities.
While Charlotte may not be as big a market as Atlanta and while Bank of America Stadium may not be as shiny and new as Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it’s reasonable to think the Panthers could be in the hunt for the types of megastars Mercedes-Benz Stadium has hosted in recent years — among them Garth Brooks in 2017 and Taylor Swift in 2018. (When Live Nation issued the cryptic press release early Monday morning teasing “a major announcement at Bank of America Stadium,” Swift’s name repeatedly came up in all the conjecture.)
The key is making the right choices and marketing the shows effectively. For instance, though the 1997 Rolling Stones show was an easy sellout, the Chesney/McGraw show on June 24, 2012 was considered a disappointment, the Panthers have said in the past, with only about 35,000 of about 50,000 available seats filled.
As for how Joel’s Bank of America Stadium concert will fare? We’ll find out soon enough.
Here’s the schedule for ticket sales: American Express cardmembers can purchase them before the general public, beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30 and ending at 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. Carolina Panthers PSL owners will have access to purchase pre-sale tickets beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 and ending at 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. Tickets for the general public will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4 via livenation.com.
Whatever line you choose, get in it as early as possible.
Because at 70 years old, the native New Yorker continues to be one of the biggest concert draws in the world, selling out stadiums and arenas with relative ease thanks to a legion of fans who consider hearing him perform “Piano Man” live a bucket-list moment. In fact, before his last visit to Charlotte — at the former Time Warner Cable Arena on Dec. 5, 2015 — Live Nation and Hornets Sports Entertainment staged a press conference similar to Tuesday’s to announce Joel’s show. (This type of reveal is exceedingly rare in the business.) That show sold out in a matter of minutes.
So, come next April 18, it’s safe to say it’ll be a pretty good crowwwd for a Saturdayyy…
This is a developing story and will be updated.
This article first appeared in the Charlotte Observer.