US college sports organisation the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has agreed a deal to continue staging its Football Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, until 2030.
The game has been played in the city every year since 2010, with the exception of 2016 when it was relocated to Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, as a response to Charlotte’s previous stance on transgender laws.
After the city changed its discriminatory laws in May last year, the ACC opted to return to Charlotte for the 2017 game between the University of Miami Hurricanes and Clemson University Tigers.
Charlotte is also due to host the 2018, 2019 and 2020 championship games, and the new 10-year agreement between the ACC and Charlotte Sports Foundation means that the game will remain at Bank of America Stadium, home of NFL American football franchise the Carolina Panthers, for a further 10 years.
The ACC said each game covered by the renewed agreement, which runs from 2021 until 2030, will take place on the first Saturday in December.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said: “Charlotte has been a tremendous home for the ACC Football Championship Game and we’re pleased to announce the Queen City as our championship destination through 2030. With the outstanding efforts by the Charlotte Sports Foundation, Carolina Panthers and city of Charlotte, our game has grown into one of the premier sporting events in the country.”
Johnny Harris, chairman of the board of directors of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, added: “The ACC, Charlotte and the Charlotte Sports Foundation have proven to have a wonderful partnership.
“The Charlotte Sports Foundation’s mission is to attract major sporting events that enhance the quality of life in Charlotte. Hosting the prestigious Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game each year is a cornerstone of our foundation.”
The future of Bank of America Stadium has been the subject of much debate in recent times, with the Panthers currently up for sale. Any new owner could seek to build a new stadium for the team, with the Panthers currently contracted to play at Bank of America Stadium until the summer of 2019.
Swofford said that should the Panthers move to a new stadium, the organisation’s deal with the Charlotte Sports Foundation includes a clause for the game to remain in Charlotte and potentially switch to the new facility.
Swofford added, according to the Charlotte Observer newspaper: “That’s addressed in the arrangement, in terms of the opportunity to discuss and potentially play in that new stadium. We’d probably need to sit down with that new ownership and see what that might entail, but would fully expect to be able to successfully do that.
"We’re very happy with this stadium, by the way.”