CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The start of the college football season kicks off Thursday night in uptown Charlotte and just ahead of the national spotlight, sports officials in town have announced plans for more college football in the Queen City.
The game between the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina kicks off Thursday night at the Bank of America stadium. ESPN will provide national coverage for the ACC-SEC showdown, which starts at 6 p.m.
It was also announced by Charlotte Sports Foundation Wednesday that it has secured two future regular season college football games between the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina.
These games will be played at Bank of America Stadium on Labor Day weekend in 2019 and 2023, with exact dates and ticket information to be announced at a later date.
"We are extremely excited to announce that these great games will be played in Charlotte," said Will Webb, Executive Director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation. "This is a tremendous rivalry that will be played in one of the best stadiums in the United States."
"This also adds great value for ticket purchasers for the 2015 Belk College Kickoff Game on Thursday," he added. "Fans who purchase tickets to see UNC vs USC this year will be given early access to purchase tickets for all of the future college games organized by the Charlotte Sports Foundation."
This brings the current total to four regular season college football games that CSF has scheduled for Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. Previously announced, North Carolina will face South Carolina on Thursday, and the University of Tennessee will face West Virginia University in 2018.
While the game is still a day away, you can expect to see some congestion starting Wednesday.
The Belk College Kickoff Game FanFest will be held at multiple locations surrounding Bank of America Stadium, including Romare Bearden Park and Mint Street.
The event will close Mint Street between Morehead and Stonewall Streets. The closures will be in place between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 p.m. Thursday. Event hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, officials said.
FanFest is a free event open to the public. Food and beverage vendors will be on hand as well as live musical entertainment.
Thousands of tickets are available for the game. Tickets range from $60 to $285 on Ticketmaster. A lot of fans feel the prices are too steep for a college game, but Webb said the prices are competitive for the magnitude of the event.
"They are in line or below the average for a college kickoff game," Webb said. "Our upper deck prices are actually below the regular season game price for several games, whether it is NC State or Georgia Tech or Florida State."
WBTV was able to find lower level seats below $100 for Clemson and Georgia Tech's season openers. Admittedly, the matchups are not very strong.
As for the Carolina showdown, events like this have attracted counterfeiters to Charlotte in the past.
The BBB offers advice when searching online for sporting events tickets. "When buying from an online ticket broker, look for the BBB seal so you know that you are dealing with a company that has a good reputation and a secure Web site for processing your payment."