CHARLOTTE — Bank of America Stadium will be filled to capacity when President Obama gives his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, according to his campaign. But the campaign is expecting 9,000 fewer attendees than the stadium’s capacity for Carolina Panthers football games there.
“The way the stadium is constructed, its capacity is 74,000 for football,” Obama communications director Brent Colburn said at a briefing on Tuesday. “Our capacity is going to be lower on Thursday night because of staging, place for media, security, so we’re looking at approximately 65,000. We expect 65,000 to show up.”
Yet when Obama accepted the nomination four years ago at Denver’s Invesco Field (since renamed Sports Authority Field) the reverse was true — the speech drew more than the stadium’s capacity for football games.
Invesco’s seating capacity was 76,125 in 2008, according to the Denver Broncos media guide for that year. But when Obama spoke there, DNC organizers estimated that he drew over 84,000. At the time, they were able to actually increase capacity by opening up the field to seating.
When asked how many credentials were handed out to the public to attend Obama’s speech, Colburn said he didn’t know, but said there had been ” incredible demand.”
As to reports that weather could change plans to hold the speech at the stadium, Colburn said at a briefing on Tuesday that the plan is still for Obama to speak there, but that could change in the event of thunder, lightning or heavy rain.