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The Charlotte Coliseum was a multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker. It was operated by the Charlotte Coliseum Authority, which also oversees the operation of Bojangles' Coliseummarker, the Charlotte Convention Centermarker, and Ovens Auditoriummarker. It is best known as the original home of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA.

It hosted its final NBA basketball game on October 26, 2005, a preseason game between the Charlotte Bobcats and the Indiana Pacers.

The city of Charlotte sold the property, and the building was demolished via implosion on June 3, 2007. A mixed-use development is now planned for the space since the demolition is complete.

History

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 multi-million dollar scoreboard was being repositioned when it struck the ceiling and crashed to the floor, destroying both it and the basketball court it landed on (an alternate floor was brought from Cricket Arenamarker 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 358 consecutive games--the equivalent of 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scandals involving him, caused fan support to dwindle, and by then the once-sparkling Coliseum was seen by many as outdated and no longer suitable to be the home of a major professional sports team.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, Louisianamarker in 2002, the Hornets' attendance had dropped to last in the 29-team league. Ironically, one of the Coliseum's last functions before being shuttered was as a shelter for people fleeing New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.

The arena was also used for a variety of collegiate 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 Charlottemarker), in addition to many NCAA Tournament regionals, sub-regionals, eight ACC men's basketball tournaments and the 1989 Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball tournament.

It also hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game. It was also the site of WWE Unforgiven 1999 and Judgment Day 2003.

The Coliseum was home to filming of the movie Eddie in 1996.

This was actually the second building to use the name "Charlotte Coliseum"; Bojangles' Coliseummarker, located on Independence Boulevard, originally opened as the Coliseum, and it shared the same features as the "new" Coliseum, including its famous domed roof.

Tenants

View of the Coliseum from the back, with the service entrance visible.
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 Charlotte Bobcats Arenamarker in 2005. 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 49ersmarker of the NCAA played in the Coliseum during their final days in the Sun Belt Conference from 1988 through 1993. However, games there were usually swallowed up by the environment, and the Coliseum was somewhat inconvenient to the school's mostly urban-commuter student body.

Two now-defunct Arena Football League teams played in the Coliseum - the Charlotte Rage (1992-96) and the Carolina Cobras (2003-04).

When the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 with the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, they played their first season (2004-05) in the Coliseum as the new Time Warner Cable Arenamarker was being built.

Notes

  1. Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday, updated June 1, 2007
  2. Last of its kind: Charlotte Coliseum to be demolished Sunday, updated June 1, 2007
  3. http://www.apbr.org/attendance.html


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