Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Most guys like watching football while enjoying a beer, but have you ever played football with a beer in your hand? Well, you have the chance this weekend as Bud Light Fan Camp stops in Charlotte as part of its 60-city tour, where you can compete for a chance to represent the Queen City in Hawaii.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Bud Light Fan Camp takes place this Saturday, October 1, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Carolina Panthers Practice Field on Cedar Street. You'll need to assemble a team of four--must have two males and two females, all 21 years of age or older--and you all will compete in a variety of traditional and non-traditional NFL skills tests, each with a Bud Light twist. Events include:
  • Quick Kick: Kick footballs through inflatable uprights. 
  • Precision Pass: Try to hit passing targets. 
  • EA Sports Gaming Zone: Two teams battle in an EA Sports Madden NFL 12 competition. 
  • Flag Frenzy: Try to gain the most points in a game of four-on-four flag football. 
  • Cannon Catch: Catch line drives and loft passes. 

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Teams will earn points during each event, and the top teams will advance to Day 2 on Sunday, October 2 to compete for the city championship. The winning team will receive a trip to the 2012 Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the opportunity to represent Charlotte at the Bud Light Fan Camp Finals at Aloha Stadium the day after the Pro Bowl.

You can register for Bud Light Fan Camp in advance of the event at www.facebook.com/BudLight or on-site at the Panthers Practice Field on Saturday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Charlotte Bobcats President and COO Fred Whitfield sent out this statement to fans today.
Dear Charlotte Bobcats Fans:

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally inform you that the NBA made the difficult decision to postpone the start of training camps and cancel preseason games scheduled through October 15, due to the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement. As a result the Charlotte Bobcats will not open camp on October 3, 2011 as previously scheduled and road preseason games at Chicago (Oct. 10), at Memphis (Oct. 11) and at Oklahoma City (Oct. 14) will not be played.

We remain confident that this process will result in a business model that affords all 30 teams the opportunity to compete for a championship, fairly compensates players and ensures a world-class experience for you, our most loyal fans.

We recognize that without our fans, there would be no NBA. Your passion for the game is what motivates us and we do not take your support for granted. Additionally, we want to assure you that the league will continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement so that we can get back to enjoying the excitement of NBA basketball at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Thank you again for your support, patience and continued loyalty to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Sincerely,
Fred Whitfield
President & Chief Operating Officer

Whitfield hosted a lunch for season ticket holders last month at Ruth's Chris. [Source]

The NBA--owners and players--better get their act together because if they end up canceling the start of the regular season due to this lockout, a lot of fans might not bother to show interest when the season finally does start. Not to mention the challenges mid-market teams like the Bobcats already face in attracting sponsors. What do they think will happen if sponsors start allocating those dollars elsewhere? Plus, we all see firsthand what kind of economic boost home games have on Uptown restaurants, bars, hotels, and other businesses around Time Warner Cable Arena.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where's George? I Have Him...for Now

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 9/20/2011 No comments
Over the weekend I saw that I had one of those "Where's George?" dollar bills in my wallet. I folded it up to make sure I wouldn't spend it until I had a chance to look it up, and tonight I took a few minutes to check out where this bill has been. If you're not familiar with this, Where's George? is a currency bill tracking website that's actually been around since 1998. Random people all over the country will stamp a particular bill with the WheresGeorge.com mark and instructions on how to log on.


I entered the serial number hoping I'd find an interesting history of this bill, similar to the movie Twenty Bucks. But this George Washington hasn't seen much action. According to the tracking report that came up after I entered my info, this dollar bill, which was printed in 2006, was first entered into the Where's George? database by someone in Leominster, MA in August 2009; next in Shrewsbury, MA in October 2009; then it dropped off the radar until popping up in Lancaster, PA in May 2011; and I'm the most recent entry with Charlotte in September 2011. No one has entered anything noteworthy in the user's note other than the standard where you found it and the condition it's in.

I don't think WheresGeorge.com is used as much as it once was, even though it reportedly remains the most popular among all the other sites that have copied it (nearly $1 billion worth of notes is said to have been entered on the site as of December 2010). And it's still a fun thing to do if you encounter one of these bills. I think this is only the second time I've come across one, the last time being about three or four years ago. I'm interested in seeing where this George ends up next (I entered my email address so I can receive an update if/when someone enters it again). I'll spend it today so it can get back into circulation.


Friday, September 16, 2011

I saw the photo below of Cam Newton on Facebook a few minutes ago. It's an Obama-inspired image that sums up what Cam has brought to Carolina Panthers fans--hope--after his rookie record-setting 422 yards passing last Sunday. Fans should pace themselves, though, because the NFL is a tough league and this is the start of a long season. Still, it's great to be excited about the Panthers again, and Cam seems determined to make believers out of doubters. I'm certainly rooting for him.


In this Panthers Huddle video from panthers.com, Cam discusses some of his technique, which he'll need to be keen with Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium (1 p.m. on FOX).

video

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fans of J. Cole have been patiently (and in some cases impatiently) waiting for his debut album to be released. The Roc Nation-signed, most anticipated rap artist to ever come out of North Carolina, is now less than two weeks away from his September 27 release of Cole World: The Sideline Story. And over these next couple of weeks, you can expect to see J. Cole everywhere.


This afternoon, he released one of his album's biggest tracks, "Mr. Nice Watch," which features an appearance by his boss Jay-Z. It's got the Internet going nuts (Jay-Z's verse is insane). Listen to it below (clean version).


Dropping "Mr. Nice Watch" today only adds to J. Cole's buzz. Tonight he kicks off MTV2’s "Sucker Free Road To Release," with the worldwide video premiere for his latest single, "Can’t Get Enough," featuring Trey Songz. The video will premiere tonight at 10 p.m. on MTV2, and then across MTV, MTV2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, mtvU, MTV.com, and MTV2.com beginning tomorrow (September 15).

J. Cole is the first artist to appear on "Sucker Free Road To Release," the network's new multi-platform show that "will feature hip-hop’s biggest and hottest artists with exclusive, personal and intimate content and programming that takes a look into the creative and business aspects of an artist’s album release, from the writing and recording process in the studio to selecting album art and song/album titles as well as doing press, promotion and hitting the road on tour," according to a press release from MTV.

You'll also find the Fayetteville native in the October issue of GQ magazine, which hits newsstands next week.


To keep up with all-things-Cole, visit his official website, www.jcolemusic.com. And follow him on Twitter @JColeNC. It's great to see a talented hip-hop artist from the Carolinas get such well-deserved recognition. You can see him perform in person on October 13 when he brings his tour to The Fillmore Charlotte. Click here for details.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vote Today, Shout Tonight

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 9/13/2011 No comments
Elections in Charlotte City Council primaries are taking place today until 7:30 p.m. I know many of you are planning to vote in the general elections in November, but today is the first step to ensuring the city council candidate of your choice makes it onto the ballot. There are five contested races today: At-large, District 2, District 3, District 5, and District 7. Click here to read The Charlotte Observer's breakdown of the races and links to their political coverage. You can also find important details, such as voting locations, on the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections website, www.meckboe.org.


Then later this evening, treat yourself to a jubilant event. The eighth annual Gospel Shout! is like a celebration of the return to fall. As always, the concert is free, and features religious "roots music" featuring a cappella singing plus the high-energy trombone "shout band" tradition found at the United House of Prayer. It always reminds me of a performance you would see in the streets of New Orleans (watch the YouTube clip below of the Charlotte band). You can make an entire evening of it and enjoy a soul-food dinner (approximately $10) in the House of Prayer cafeteria. Dinner begins serving at 6 p.m.; concert begins 7:30 p.m. This event is presented by Levine Museum of the New South and Charlotte Center City Partners. United House of Prayer for All People, 2321 Beatties Ford Road.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kevin Hart is one of the funniest comedians going right now, and yesterday his movie Laugh At My Pain opened exclusively at AMC theaters nationwide. It's a step up from his straight-to-DVD films, which have been part of the reason he's become a comedy household name--most friends of mine have at least one Kevin Hart stand-up on DVD. He's also come a long way from the movie that first brought him to my attention, 2004's Soul Plane. Not only was he the central character in Soul Plane, but the movie was so widely panned by critics and fans that it could've ended his career. Now, it's just one more funny notch under his Laugh At My Pain mantra (and it's coincidental that last night I happened to watch The Boondocks episode where they spoofed a fictional release of Soul Plane 2).

Also last night, I saw people posting on Facebook and Twitter how funny Kevin's new movie is, which means he'll probably be laughing all the way to the bank. This is on top of his successful comedy tour (that grossed $15 million in ticket sales) of which the movie is based. On day two of his movie opening, he could've been anywhere in the country and he chose to come to Charlotte. At about noon today, he posted on Twitter: "ATTN Charlotte NC: Im n ur city, im giving away 100 tickets 2 the 1pm showing of Laugh at My Pain to the 1st 100 people to meet me there..." The theater of choice was AMC Carolina Pavilion on South Boulevard. I'm assuming he only announced this one hour in advance to keep the crowd from getting out of control.

Once he arrived to the theater, he doubled his offer, saying that he bought 200 tickets. See the Twitpic below.


In addition to the AMC Carolina Pavilion, you can see Laugh At My Pain locally at AMC Northlake (at Northlake Mall) and AMC Concord Mills (at Concord Mills Mall). Click here to search for showtimes at AMC theaters in your area.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Forbes published its annual list of the NFL's Most Valuable Teams yesterday, the day before the 2011 NFL season officially kicks off. I look forward to reading these rankings each year and even though media coverage of the spring-and-summer-long NFL lockout reminded us daily that the National Football League is essentially a cash cow, it's still great to see how the numbers break down.

Not surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable team for the fifth straight year, worth $1.85 billion, according to Forbes. I was surprised, however, by where the Carolina Panthers rank: No. 15 with a value of $1 billion. In a league comprised of 32 teams, that puts the Panthers in the middle, so I'm surprised that Charlotte's team is ranked ahead of teams that have been around longer and that are in bigger cities, such as the Atlanta Falcons, ranked No. 27 with a value of $814 million.

Panthers rookie Cam Newton throws a wristband to fans after a preseason game.
Via panthers.com.

Rounding out the top-five most valuable NFL teams for 2011 are the Washington Redskins (No. 2, $1.55 billion), New England Patriots (No. 3, $1.4 billion), New York Giants (No. 4, $1.3 billion), and New York Jets (No. 5, $1.22 billion). The Panthers are the last team valued at $1 billion or more--numbers 16 through 24 are valued at more than $900 million each, then the teams dip to the $800 million range, and in the caboose is the Jacksonville Jaguars, ranked No. 32 at $725 million.

If you'll recall, the Panthers and the Jaguars began playing in 1995 when the NFL expanded to what was then a total of 30 teams. The Jaguars have been the slightly more successful team on the field, winning 14 more games than the Panthers over their 16-year histories. But the Panthers are clearly more successful off the field, with a value that places them $275 million above the Jaguars.

The aforementioned paragraph is my assessment. Click here to read a full analysis of the list by Forbes editor Kurt Badenhausen. And click here for the slideshow of the most valuable teams.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The 2012 Democratic National Convention Kick Off was held today at Time Warner Cable Arena in Uptown Charlotte, commemorating that the convention is officially one year away. I'm going to be covering all-things-DNC in a new blog launching soon. But in the meantime, I thought I'd briefly share a few photos I snapped at today's pep-rally-style event, which drew more than 2,000 people. In the photos you'll see the large crowd, the newly revealed 2012 Democratic National Convention logo, Charlotteans clamoring to buy official merchandise (which sold out), and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (with her signature curly hair) surrounded by media.


You can find more details on the 2012 Democratic National Convention website, www.demconvention.com, and the Charlotte Host Committee website, www.charlottein2012.com.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mayor Foxx Is Charlotte

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 9/05/2011 1 comment
The 2011 Charlotte Labor Day Parade made its way through the streets of Uptown today. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who is seeking a second term this November, marched in the parade with his son, surrounded by several of his campaign supporters. Mayor Foxx, as you might know, is a Charlotte native (you don't tend to run into too many of those around here because they're greatly outnumbered by transplants), and he's a West Charlotte High and Davidson College (and NYU) grad. I've always felt that he has a unique and valuable perspective on this city because he's from here, has lived here most of his life, has watched Charlotte grow, and for the last several years has helped lead that growth.

Photo by Jonathan Webber.

His campaign committee posted photos from the parade onto his Facebook page tonight. You can view them at facebook.com/AnthonyFoxx09 (or directly by clicking on this link to the album). I just wanted to point out one of the photos in particular because in it you can see that he's dressed in a The Coffee Cup T-shirt and Carolina Panthers cap. That's Charlotte.
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