In 2011, the Charlotte City Council had a plan: open the door for construction of a new Triple-A baseball stadium for the hometown Charlotte Knights in the city’s Uptown district. The Knights, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, had been playing their home games in nearby Fort Mill, S.C.
With a proposed land-swap agreement and hopes to increase game attendance, the Knights found a new home field in the heart of the city at BB&T Ballpark. This was big news for all of us at Sahlen’s, since we are the official hot dog of the team.
The fans love the Knights’ new home. On Saturday, July 5, the team broke the all-time season attendance record with 429,133 fans—surpassing the previous record set back in 1993.
“I think this is going to be the most successful Triple-A franchise in the country,” says Dan Rajkowski, the Knights’ chief operating officer. ”To surpass the all-time attendance record in just 45 games is a testament to the vision and dreams of so many people in our area.”
Since the opening of BB&T’s 10,200-seat stadium in April, the ballpark has exceeded Rajkowski’s expectations. The Knights currently lead Minor League Baseball in overall attendance—with almost 10,000 fans per game.
So far, the team has sold out 22 of 45 games, including Saturday’s game against the Norfolk Tides. This marks a huge jump from last year, where the Knights’ attendance was lowest in the 14-team International League.
The new $54 million, state-of-the-art facility offers great views of the city skyline.
In addition to the stadium’s success, original construction plans consisted of more than just a baseball field. BB&T Ballpark has hosted festivals, concerts and community events throughout the year. The surrounding space is also home to new hotels, office buildings, restaurants and retail shops–all contributors to Charlotte’s booming economy.
“The greater Charlotte community has really taken hold of BB&T Ballpark and our Knights,” says Rajkowski. “It’s a tremendous time for our city and for Charlotte professional baseball.”
Aside from baseball entertainment, the field offers regular promotions such as Thirsty Thursdays, Friday Night Fireworks and Family Sundays. BB&T has a variety of food from concessions — including Sahlen’s, of course.
Prior to the season, Erik Hassy of Ovation Foods — the concession operator for the Knights — estimated that roughly 20,000 pounds would be consumed at BB&T Park in 2014. That’s 10 tons of hot dogs!
“I know our staff will continue to provide great forms of food, events and family entertainment,” says Rajkowski, “and we plan to meet many more milestones down the road.”
For more information on game times and tickets, visit the Knights’ schedule. We’ll see you at BB&T Ballpark!