Apr 18, 2024 - Sports

UNC Board of Governors approves $60M expansion of Charlotte 49ers stadium

Charlotte 49ers satdium.

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

The UNC Board of Governors approved the $60 million first phase of expansion of the Charlotte 49ers football stadium on Thursday.

Why it matters: Jerry Richardson Stadium is one of the smallest in the Football Bowl Subdivision — or FBS, which includes stadiums seating more than 100,000. Stadium expansion is part of a larger plan to level up the university's athletics facilities.

Catch up quick: Charlotte's 15,314-seat football stadium, in which the young program played its first game in August 2013, was designed to expand.

  • Advance planning has been in the works for months and recently wrapped up. Now the university will focus on schematic design, 49ers director of athletics Mike Hill tells Axios.

By the numbers: The first phase will increase capacity to 18,170. Phase 2 is expected to expand seating to 21,000 as the university continues to raise funds for the project.

What to expect: The first phase of construction will include:

  • A state-of-the-art tower with a press box and premium seats
  • Seven luxury suites
  • Club seats
  • Loge boxes
  • Ledge seats
  • More general seating
  • The club level will be the dedicated team dining area, meeting facility and conference space, with year-round use in mind.

Zoom out: This approval is the latest step in a long process to expand the stadium. In December, Charlotte's board of trustees approved advanced planning funds and a construction manager for the project.

What's next: Construction on Phase 1 will begin after the 2024 season. The date is TBD, Hill says.

What they're saying: "We are grateful for the private and public investments in this expansion, particularly from generous donors and the match from the NC General Assembly," UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon Gaber said in a statement.

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