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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Jerry Richardson Stadium - Famous Toastery Bowl



Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

Jerry Richardson Stadium 8701 Phillips Rd Charlotte, NC 28223



Year Opened: 2013 Capacity: 15,314


A Toast to the Famous Toastery Bowl

There are two perspectives one could take when reviewing the Famous Toastery Bowl – the first looks at what is missing. When the Bahamas Bowl needed to be relocated for a year due to ongoing stadium construction and renovations at Thomas Robinson Stadium, ESPN Events chose Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte. The home of the Charlotte 49ers, the stadium seemed like a perfect fit for a smaller bowl like this one.


However, many of the things one expected were not here; there was little sponsor activation, signage around town was minimal at best, and the massive crowd wasn’t exactly filling every open seat. A change of perspective can alter your perception, though – everything at the stadium was immaculate, the staff was friendly and welcoming, tailgating was in full force even in the parking garages, game logos were all over the place, and they even had a celebrity coin tosser in Daytona 500 winning NASCAR driver Michael McDowell. By the end of the game, many in the stands were echoing what had become a common thought: “I hope they keep this game here for next year”.


 

Food & Beverage   4

For a smaller stadium, the food and beverage options here are numerous. Multiple concession stands exist in the stadium and all of them are open. The main draw is the Bojangles stand where you can get their famous chicken in baskets ($9.50) and have mac and cheese bacon bites ($8) or jumbo pretzels ($5 + $2 for cheese). Large souvenir cups with free refills of soda or iced tea run $6.25, while bottled water ($4-$6), Powerade ($4), and Monster Energy ($5) are also available. Beer ($8-$9) and wine ($9.50) are also available, including a local brew themed after the Charlotte 49ers. In addition, various other food carts are located throughout the concourse offering similar options.

 

Atmosphere   4

The stadium itself is simple enough; a single level to the bowl, fans enter the facility along what is currently the upper concourse, meaning you walk down to your seats. The architecture matches that of the buildings on campus nearby, a mix of classic colonial aesthetic and “Morrocroft Special” brickwork from Hanson Brick. The new LED scoreboard is visible from almost every seat in the stadium, and most seats are backed bleachers or individual chairback seats. The backdrop of the stadium features stunning campus buildings and trees – the campus itself is heavily wooded, making for a verdant college look.

 

Neighborhood   4

UNC Charlotte is a beautiful campus, filled with lakes and forested areas over 1,000 acres. Immediately across the street from the stadium is a Marriott hotel. The immediate neighborhood of University City features plenty of shopping, dining, and lodging for visitors, and the campus itself is beautiful to walk around.


In downtown Charlotte, you can visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as well as various race shops in the cities to the north in Mooresville.

 

Fans   3

The fan attendance at the Famous Toastery Bowl is smaller than some of those at bigger bowls, partially a result of the game’s tie-ins, which usually result in smaller schools from mid-level conferences being invited – Old Dominion and Western Kentucky highlighted the most recent match-up.



Fans nonetheless can get a taste of the pageantry of bowl games. Also, the smaller stadium means the fans fill in a lot more than at larger facilities, putting them closer to the action. n. Everyone in attendance also made the most of their attendance, making for roars during scoring plays that could be heard far away from the stadium itself, despite its smaller size.


Access   5

Getting to the Famous Toastery Bowl is incredibly easy; located equidistant from I-85 and I-485, the stadium lies right off the main roads of Highway 29 and Route 24. Parking is plentiful on-site, and signage on the nearby roads directs fans to the entrances. Additionally, pre-game info on stadium parking and entrances for various lots was readily available for fans and was well communicated.

 

Return on Investment   5

Tickets to the Famous Toastery Bowl are incredibly affordable, starting at just $25 for end zone seats and topping out at $60 for sideline seats at the 50-yard line. Parking is also available, with various lots and garages around the stadium open, as well as having fan shuttle service available. With this in mind, the Famous Toastery Bowl may be the best value for bowl season.

 

Extras   4

The stadium features a large statue outside Gate 3 sculpted by artist Jon Hair – the “Go Long” statue honors the team’s ongoing history in college football, and serves as a great photo spot for fans. The game also features various giveaways, both for fans entering the game and for fans inside.


You also can purchase Bowl Game merchandise at several sales stands around the facility, and finally, the stadium features plaques around the venue honoring university benefactors who helped fund its construction, as well as those whom the stadium was named after.


 

Final Thoughts

The Famous Toastery Bowl has the potential to be a great bowl game in the future. Should it become a new bowl and remain in Charlotte, there is little doubt it will become a great option for sports fans. Incredibly high affordability offers fans the option to take in a bowl game without breaking the bank, and the stadium itself is a wonderful site.

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