Charlotte Coliseum was a multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was operated by the Charlotte Coliseum Authority, which also oversees the operation of Bojangles' Coliseum (which was called Charlotte Coliseum prior to 1988), the Charlotte Convention Center, and Ovens Auditorium. It is best known as the home of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets from 1988 to 2002, and the Charlotte Bobcats (now the second incarnation of the Hornets) from 2004 to 2005.
The Coliseum in 1988
|Address||100 Paul Buck Boulevard|
|Location||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Owner||City of Charlotte|
|Operator||City of Charlotte|
Ice hockey: 21,684
*End stage 180°: 16,695
*End stage 360°: 23,780
*Center stage: 24,041
*Theatre: 5,372 - 9,696 
|Field size||872,000 square feet (81,000 m2)|
|Scoreboard||American Sign & Indicator, now Trans-Lux|
|Broke ground||August 1986|
|Opened||August 11, 1988|
|Closed||October 26, 2005|
|Demolished||June 3, 2007|
|Construction cost||US$52 million|
($110 million in 2018 dollars)
|Charlotte Hornets/Bobcats (NBA) (1988–2002, 2004–2005)|
Charlotte 49ers (NCAA) (1988–1993)
Charlotte Rage (AFL) (1992–1994, 1996)
Charlotte Sting (WNBA) (1997–2005)
Carolina Cobras (AFL) (2003–2004)
The Coliseum hosted 371 consecutive NBA sell-outs from December 1988 to November 1997, which includes seven playoff games. It hosted its final NBA basketball game on October 26, 2005, a preseason game between the Charlotte Bobcats and the Indiana Pacers.
Construction on the Charlotte Coliseum began in 1986 and was opened on August 11, 1988 with a dedication by the Rev. Billy Graham. At the time the venue was seen as state-of-the-art, complete with luxury boxes and a large eight-sided video scoreboard. George Shinn had used the under-construction arena as his hole card to get the NBA to place a team in the city. With almost 24,000 seats, it was not only the largest venue in the league, but the largest basketball-specific arena ever to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. Some thought the Coliseum was too big, but Shinn believed the area's longstanding support for college basketball made the Coliseum a more-than-viable home for an NBA team.
The day after the dedication, the United States Olympic basketball team was scheduled to play an exhibition game at the Coliseum. While preparing for the event, the multimillion-dollar scoreboard was being repositioned when it struck the ceiling and crashed to the floor, destroying both it and the court it landed on — an alternate floor was brought from Independence Arena in time for the game that night.
The Hornets would go on to lead the NBA in attendance over the course of their first seven seasons playing in "The Hive". At one point, they sold out 364 consecutive games—almost nine consecutive seasons. However, poorly received decisions made by Shinn, as well as anger over personal scandals involving him, caused fan support to dwindle, and by then the once-sparkling Coliseum was seen by many as outdated and no longer suitable to be the home of a major professional sports team. When the Hornets relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2002, the Hornets' attendance had dropped to last in the 29-team league. One of the Coliseum's last functions before being shuttered was ironically as a shelter for people fleeing New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.
This was actually the second building to use the name "Charlotte Coliseum"; Bojangles' Coliseum, located on Independence Boulevard, originally opened as the Coliseum, and it shared the same features as the "new" Coliseum, including its famous domed roof.
Although the Hornets were the best-known tenants of the Coliseum, many other teams called The Hive home.
The Charlotte Sting of the WNBA began play in the Coliseum upon their inception in 1997, but had moved to Spectrum Center in 2006. During most Sting games, the upper level and a portion of the lower level were curtained off, reducing capacity to around 10,000. However, during the Sting's unexpected run to the WNBA Finals in 2001, they attracted the largest crowd in WNBA history to one playoff game.
The Charlotte 49ers played in the Coliseum during their final days in the Sun Belt Conference from 1988 through 1993. The Coliseum also played host to the 1989 Sun Belt Men's Basketball Tournament, setting a record for attendance. They moved back to their old home, Bojangles' Coliseum (then known as Independence Arena) for the 1993–94 season, partly due to a desire for a more intimate atmosphere. The 49ers failed to consistently fill the arena and 49ers games were frequently swallowed up in the environment. Additionally, the Coliseum was located on the opposite side of the county from UNC Charlotte's campus, and was thus inconvenient to most of its student body.
Although the Coliseum and all but one of its parking lots had been demolished as of September 2013, the street leading to the grounds named Hive Drive (after the Coliseum's nickname of "The Hive") and a sign at the beginning guiding drivers to the Coliseum and surrounding amenities remain.
The arena was also used for college basketball events. The Coliseum hosted the 1994 Men's Final Four and the 1996 Women's Final Four (both jointly hosted by Davidson College and UNC Charlotte), in addition to NCAA Tournament regionals, sub-regionals, eight ACC men's basketball tournaments and the 1989 Sun Belt Conference men's basketball tournament.
In addition to the many sporting events hosted at the Coliseum, it hosted large concerts. The first concert was not long after the grand opening and featured Frank Sinatra.
A mixed-use development named City Park was constructed on the former site. City Park includes town homes, apartments, hotels, and restaurants. A plaque honoring the former arena is placed near the front of the development.
- "Charlotte Coliseum" (PDF).
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com.
- Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday, updated June 1, 2007
- "NBA Home Attendance Totals". www.apbr.org.
|Events and tenants|
| Home of the
1988 – 2002, 2004 – 05
| Host of the
NBA All-Star Game
| Home of the
1992 – 1996
| NCAA Men's Division I
| Home of the
1997 – 2005
Time Warner Cable Arena
| Home of the
2003 – 2004