This has been an incredible year for Charlotte sports fans. The Panthers are undefeated and playoff bound, and the Hornets are one of the surprise teams in the NBA with a top five record in the Eastern Conference as of this writing. Queen City sports fans have been spoiled this year — so what do you get to spoil the Charlotte sports fan in your life?
For the Panthers fan:
NoDa artist David French is one of the most popular artists in the city thanks to a stunning collection of prints covering life throughout our city. His “Panthers Game Day” print is a must-add to any Panthers’ fan’s collection. $25 for an 11-inch wide signed print. (French has a second Panthers print available, too.)
(2) A 704 Shop tee
The guys at 704 Shop have done an awesome job creating a Charlotte-only brand of tees, sweats and snapbacks. They even have an ever-expanding line of unisex Panthers tees, from a #Luuuuuke tee to a Cardiac Cats tee. $28 each.
(3) Playoff tickets
Playoff tickets have yet to go on sale and will surely sell out within minutes. This means you’ll likely be buying from resellers online which, of course, means you’ll be paying several times over face value. NFL playoff tickets go for hundreds of dollars so this is far and away the most expensive gift on this list.
By the way, a note on the Panthers regular season finale game vs. Tampa Bay: Yes, the Panthers may go into that game undefeated and yes, individual tickets are available for north of $200, but you may want to save your money for a chance at playoff tickets.
Playoff-bound teams often rest their star players in the season finale game, which is typically meaningless. Of course that may not happen if the Panthers are undefeated heading into the finale, but I thought you should know that Cam, Greg, Luke and Josh may not be out there come week 17 no matter what the team’s record may be. Remember, the goal is the Super Bowl, not a perfect record (though it’d be nice to have both).
For the Hornets fan:
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) November 16, 2015
Did you know that the Hornets have been on fire to start the season? It’s true, they’ve been awesome. Did you also know that Kobe Bryant is retiring after this season? Also true. The Hornets vs. Lakers game on December 28 has been one of the hottest tickets of the year; individual tickets are going north of $125 on the resale market. But boy have I got a deal for you.
The Hornets are offering a five-game plan which includes tickets to Kobe’s last game AND the game vs. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder AND three other games of your choice (I’d pick the Spurs, Mavericks and Bulls games if I were you) this season as part of a holiday bundle. It’s a great deal and you’ll see your Hornets take on a lot of the NBA’s biggest stars, too. Bundles start at $125 a ticket.
For the college hoops fan:
(5) Tickets to a local basketball game
College basketball games are awesome: the student section cheers, the pep bands and the smaller arenas all make for amazing, intense entertainment that any hoops fan should experience at least once. Get out to a game! It’s so much better than simply watching on TV.
The Charlotte area has a ton of quality college hoops from Steph Curry’s alma mater Davidson College to UNC Charlotte, Queens University and Johnson C. Smith University. Individual game tickets range from $9 at Queens University to $15 at Davidson College. Student and alumni tickets are cheaper, too.
For the NASCAR fan/wannabe race car driver:
(6) The Richard Petty Experience at CMS
If the race fan in your life wants to try their hand behind the wheel of a stock car, the Richard Petty Experience at Charlotte Motor Speedway might be for them. Options start at $109 for a three lap ride-along and go up based on how many laps you want to turn in a car. The experiences can get pricey pretty quickly, but it’s an experience they’ll never forget.
For the baseball fan:
(7) A Charlotte Knights ticket package
You can never go wrong with a Charlotte Knights game on a summer night. The stadium is new, the view is breathtaking and the baseball is top notch, too. The Knights are now offering 18-game partial season ticket plans in a variety of configurations for $297 per seat. Are individual games more your style? Those go on sale after the New Year.
For the outdoorsy type:
Enjoy all activities the USNWC has to offer for a full calendar year with an annual pass—just $199 for adults. If you’ve somehow never been to the USNWC you need to go—between whitewater rafting, rock climbing, racing and River Jam there’s no way you can do it in a day and, since a day pass is $54, an annual pass pays for itself after four visits. Get out of your comfort zone and get after it at the USNWC.
It’s incredible how many opportunities sports fans have in our city—from pro sports to college teams to the great outdoors, it’s easy to fall in love with Charlotte through sports. Good luck with your gift giving this holiday season, and let’s all hope that the Panthers give their fans the biggest gift of all next February.