Charlotte's First Coliseum
Bojangles Coliseum has played host to entertainment icons, rock legends, sporting greats, political leaders, graduates, convention-goers and even rodeo stars.
The landmark dome opened in 1955 as Charlotte’s first coliseum. At the time, it was the largest unsupported steel dome coliseum in the world and the first free-spanning dome in the U.S.—an architectural marvel and beacon of modern design. The coliseum served as the region’s major sports and entertainment facility for over 30 years.
The Coliseum of Many Names
The facility has been known by many names: Charlotte Coliseum, Independence Arena, Cricket Arena and now Bojangles Coliseum. While the name has changed over the years, the coliseum continues to create memories that last a lifetime.
Charlotte native Julie Reece shared her experience seeing Elvis at the coliseum in 1977 when she was 8 years old. “I brought an ashtray I had made Elvis and asked the security guards if I could give it to him. On the last song, they put me on the stage. I handed Elvis the ashtray, and I got to stay on stage with him until the end of the concert. I look back now and can’t believe that actually happened.”
It's Getting Better All the Time
In 2016, the Coliseum debuted renovations that included: new, wider seats, bringing the capacity to approximately 8,600; a new scoreboard with more video capability; four new ribbon boards; a new sound system; updated concession stands, locker rooms and dressing rooms; a refurbished club area with new lighting and decor; a new entry pathway from the locker room to the ice; and other improvements, like signage and paint in select areas, new LED sports lights and aisle lighting.
Front Row Seats for Sports
The coliseum played a key role in the rich history of amateur and professional sports in Charlotte, especially when it came to basketball. Within its first year, the coliseum hosted professional basketball teams and college teams. In 2017, Bojangles Coliseum became an official venue for The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and in 2019, the coliseum hosted several basketball events for the NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.
Chris Johnson shared a standout memory with The Charlotte Observer. “…I saw an exhibition (basketball) game in which Michael Jordan scored 56 points. This was the place my parents took me to show me that there is a big world out there…”