After 10 years of trying, the Charlotte Knights are finally getting their new ballpark.
The Charlotte City Council voted 7-4 tonight to contribute $8 million toward a new downtown ballpark, the final piece of a $54 million project that is scheduled to be completed by Opening Day 2014. The Knights, a Triple-A International League affiliate that plays roughly 30 minutes south of Charlotte in Fort Mill, S.C., will contribute $38 million to construction costs–with a significant portion of those funds coming from a naming-rights agreement with BB&T Corp.
Charlotte has struggled to draw crowds to its current home and was the only IL franchise last season to total fewer than 300,000 spectators. The team expects to double that number at its future home.
"The opportunities this will present for that club from a business perspective cannot be overstated," International League president Randy Mobley said earlier today.
The Knights become the second International League franchise to gain approval for a new ballpark this year. Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre broke ground on a new stadium this spring that is expected to open by the start of next season. No new IL ballparks had opened since the Columbus Clippers and Gwinnett Braves each debuted new venues in 2009.