The Bank of America Stadium is a state-of-the-art facility and is the home to the Carolinas Panthers. Fans from all over the Carolinas pilgrimage to home games in the hopes that this might be the year. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the pre-game excitement before watching a big Panthers win.
Arrival time at the stadium varies depending on what your friends’ and family’s needs are. If seeing the game is your only goal, then arriving between 2-3 hours prior to kickoff allows plenty of time to park, find your seats, do a little walk around the concessions and shops and get settled. For those who like to tailgate, Panther fans tend to arrive 4-5 hours before kickoff, hanging out in the parking lots and enjoying the pre-game festivities. Hardcore tailgaters (you know who you are) arrive as early as dawn in order to set up camp and get the mobile BBQ pits fired up.
The Bank of America Stadium boasts over 30,000 parking spots within a 10- to 15-minute walk of the stadium. It is highly recommended to purchase a parking pass at the same time that you purchase your tickets – this gives fans the ability to access covered (and coveted) Parking Lots 99 and 1, which is where the majority of the serious tailgating communities tend to gather. If you have stadium parking passes, allow 15-30 minutes between the time your car enters the parking lot to the time you actually park your car and begin walking towards the entrances. If you are planning on parking in one of the lots that surround the stadium, budget at least an hour to find a space, park and walk the distance to the entrances (more than an hour if you have small children).
There is no reserved handicapped parking, so take into consideration how much time you will need to get to your seats if you are traveling with someone who has a disability or is elderly. Allow a minimum of 2-3 hours before kickoff to comfortably transition and seat a person who needs extra assistance.
While leaving a football game before it is over might seem like a good idea in order to beat the traffic, the Panthers tend have dramatic fourth quarters which often result in upsets. The die-hard football fan will want to stay until the end in order to see for themselves who wins the game in the final moments. Families with children or persons with disabilities have two choices: either leave early with time still on the clock or remain in the stadium for at least 20-30 minutes after the game has ended in order to safely avoid the biggest rush of people.
Large groups of people may want to set up a designated meet-up place for after the game to ensure that everyone is accounted for, as well as set a specific time for when everyone needs to be at the designated spot. This will help the group stay organized in the huge stadium crowd.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
S.L. Schmitz is a published author, and more of her work can be found at Examiner.com.