Turn Back the Clock: Knights Stadium debut in 1990

Turn Back the Clock: Knights Stadium debut in 1990

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on June 12, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 12 at 3:01 PM

FORT MILL, S.C. -- The Charlotte Knights opened their current stadium in the spring of 1990.  Now, 22 years later comes news that the team will move to an uptown location in the Third Ward beginning in 2014.

Now that the Knights have cleared one of the last big hurdles to move from Fort Mill to uptown, you might be wondering why they moved to Fort Mill in the first place in 1990.

The team's owner at the time was George Shinn, who also owned the Charlotte Hornets.

Shinn made a deal, paying $12 million to build the stadium in Fort Mill and then gave it to York County.

In return, Shinn got nearly all the revenue for the first five years, including ticket, ad, parking and concession money.

Since the county owned the stadium he also didn't pay property tax.

WCNC-TV cameras were there for the stadium's opening day in April 1990 and the mood was much more positive, even though Shinn didn't have a lot of fans at the time.

Reporter Glenn Counts talked to fans at that first game.
“I think George Shinn did a great thing by building this stadium,” one fan said.  “I know, I realize he's not getting a lot of great press right now.”

The team went on to lead their league in attendance in 1991 and 1992, but Shinn also promised a lot of development around the stadium, which never happened.

He also built the stadium to be expanded from 10,000 to 75,000 seats in case Charlotte ever landed a Major League Baseball team.

Take a look back at what it was like in 1990 when the team opened the ballpark it plays in currently.

Click the video player to watch the full WCNC-TV reports that aired on April 14, 1990.

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