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monsoon

Charlotte, city of Banking, NASCAR, Religion?

Charlotte Known for:   74 members have voted

  1. 1. Charlotte Known for:

    • NASCAR
      23
    • Religion
      3
    • Banking
      45
    • Something else (explain)
      3

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38 posts in this topic

Nobody in this town can miss the NASCAR events going on this week and there will be a lot of national attention given to it. In addition, there is the downtown museum devoted to the sport as well as Michael Waltrup's new racing facility open to the public and where Speed is broadcasting from this summer.

Then Charlie Gibson from ABC News is going to do the national news from Charlotte next week where the opening of the Billy Graham library will be opened. The event will include Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Bush Sr. So more national exposure. And as many know, this was once the center of the PTL empire run by Jim and Tammy Bakker. We even have a freeway named after Billy Graham.

Of course two of the nation's largest banks are located in Charlotte, but I am not sure how much the average person associates CLT with them now.

So the question is, does the nation know us more for Banking, NASCAR or Religion?

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I Boston people think banks (most know BofA is there, and they can't remember the name of the other one) and NASCAR. No one has mentioned religion or conservative politics, though the do think the south probably still exists in some state of racial segregation.

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NASCAR is our biggest calling card like it or not. I think the banking sector is more important overall to our city's success but it's a stereotypically boring and stodgy industry and nobody cares about our second in the country finanical hub status behind NYC except those in the field. Nascar has a "sexier" image in the branding context. Charlotte's strong religious foundation has been part of the power structure for generations and just blends into the overall atmosphere. I am not a religious person but don't feel particularly out of place because of that. Billy Graham's evangelism has always had a more pragmatic and respectful vibe and maybe that is why Charlotte is relatively welcoming to other faiths. Franklin Graham is much more conservative though and I expect him to take the organization in a more fundamentalist direction when Billy Graham passes on. The impact on Charlotte will be minimal though.

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I don't know if any one of these is a clear winner but I'd say banking is what Charlotte is most known for. To have two of the largest banks in the nation have their headquarters here is an undeniable and well known fact. I would say just one more HQ moving here would definitely put us on the national stage permanently. Also, the fact that we're the backup to Wall Street should anything happen to the trading floor (i.e. when they moved all trading here after 9/11).

As for NASCAR, while many do associate Charlotte with NASCAR, I think it is a focused group of mainly fans. We do have a huge tie to it in history, the speedway, the HOF, and many of the team's HQ's being here, but again, most people probably don't think Charlotte and NASCAR in the same sentence. Maybe once the HOF opens up that will change but all I can think of when I think of national exposure and NASCAR is the opening scene to Days of Thunder when they show a tobacco field with the subtitle of Charlotte, NC. That seems permanently damaging. Also, we lost a lot of name dropping when Charlotte Motor Speedway changed it's name to Lowe's Motor Speedway. Almost everyone calls it LMS now except a few of the older drivers who always have and always will talk about racing at Charlotte.

Religion has always been a huge factor here in Charlotte but its influence has waned quite a bit in the last decade. Churches still play a huge role here but it doesn't seem quite as big. It used to be the first thing anyone that moved here was asked was, "so where are you going to church at?" As for PTL, I don't recall Jim and Tammy Faye really having a huge association with Charlotte unless you do one of those Charlotte by association or proximity since PTL was down in Fort Mill. But again, just like NASCAR, this aplied to a select base, in this case, evangelical Christians. I don't know of very man people who sit glued to their TV to watch a TV preacher ask for money. I don't think Billy Graham has really ever had a huge Charlotte association. Yes, he was born here and his library is going to open here, but he never has been a spokesperson for Charlotte or something that was touted by city officials. I'm not aware of him ever saying in one of his sermons, "well, back in Charlotte..." and besides the road signs for Billy Graham Parkway, I've never seen any signs that say, "Charlotte- Home of Billy Graham" like every other city and town does if they any person with any ounce of celebrity in them.

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Before they moved to Ft. Mill, PTL broadcast from a studio on Park Rd that was really a small mansion home. They would routinely say they were in Charlotte and show scenes from around the home and city.

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Before they moved to Ft. Mill, PTL broadcast from a studio on Park Rd that was really a small mansion home. They would routinely say they were in Charlotte and show scenes from around the home and city.

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My family still lives in Buffalo, as did I before moving here in 2001. Of banking, NASCAR, or religion, I'd say it was (and still is) about 50/50 between NASCAR and banking to the average Buffalonian. Religion is an afterthought, other than the fact that Charlotte technically falls in the "bible belt".

So, between NASCAR and banking, I'd lean towards banking, simply because NASCAR has hotspots in other regions too, so it's not so specific to Charlotte to the average non-Charlottean. When someone in the deep south thinks NASCAR they might think Talladega or Daytona before Charlotte comes to mind. Whereas with banking, Charlotte has a disproportionate banking presence given the size of the market. No other mid-sized city really comes close to Charlotte in terms of banking, so the association is stronger. The Panthers play at Bank of America Stadium. The major golf tournament is the Wachovia Championship. Charlotte screams "I'm a banking center" moreso than it screams "I'm a NASCAR center"...and I think that has been a deliberate approach by city leaders for a while now.

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Your average American is very uninformed in the fields of geography, history, etc. In saying that, I still have people here in Florida that associate Charlotte with the beautiful antibellum homes in Charleston. That is a bit embarrasing. I would have to say that in the U.S., Charlotte is known for NASCAR which doesn't carry the connotation that it did a couple decades ago. Then NASCAR was associated with hillbillys and rednecks (which to me isn't neccessarily a bad association). Today, it is a national sport second behind NFL. Most Americans either seem to disbelieve that Charlotte is number two in banking or are not aware.

In the U.K., Charlotte is a familiar city at the same level that Manchester, England is to us. We are familiar with Manchester from hearing about the soccer team or being able to get a cheaper flight there other than London. On the other hand, people in the U.K. are familiar with Charlotte from having a flight direct to the city, although I have seen programs on BBC featuring Charlotte as a 'model' American city. Charlotte is pretty well connected with Barcleys Bank and is occasionally in the newspaper. So there is a famialiarity. Since NASCAR isn't really known in Europe, Charlotte would be considered a banking city by Brits.

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^I'm all too familiar with Barclays. We have plenty of Barclays employees in town as we speak.

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Most Americans associate cities more with popular image than with economics. Therefore, I'd bet that most people connect Charlotte with sports (NASCAR plus the pro franchises) first and foremost. People that know the banking industry will be aware of our status as a center... but how many people really pay that much attention to the banking industry? Who knows what the third-largest banking center is? As far as religion is concerned, there will always be that small element who believe that every southern city is a hotbed of right-wing fanaticism; outside that ignorant lot, I doubt many people think of Charlotte as being an especially religious city.

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Most Americans associate cities more with popular image than with economics. Therefore, I'd bet that most people connect Charlotte with sports (NASCAR plus the pro franchises) first and foremost. People that know the banking industry will be aware of our status as a center... but how many people really pay that much attention to the banking industry?

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To be honest, I don't think Charlotte has a strong identity in any of those categories to the average American. The closest would be banking and NASCAR, and if you don't live in the area or aren't an urban geek or aren't affiliated with those industries, you wouldn't have a clue that they were directly associated with Charlotte. I think a lot of folks may know that Charlotte is a growing midsized city, but they may not be sure exactly why.

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^ Very true. There are a lot of cities out there which have no specific identity outside the fact that they're big enough to be heard of.

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^ Very true. There are a lot of cities out there which have no specific identity outside the fact that they're big enough to be heard of.

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Well, let's try real quick...

Baltimore - crab cakes?

Kansas City - Chiefs

Sacramento - ??? Capital I guess?

Fort Worth - ?

Indianapolis - Indy 500

Jacksonville - Jaguars

Orlando - Disney

San Antonio - The Alamo/Riverwalk

Milwaukee - beer

Las Vegas - casinos

Austin - ??? Capital? University of Texas?

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I'd say banking and NASCAR more than religion. You always have those ignorant few who conflate Charlotte or 'the south' with overzealous religion and backwardness, but who really cares what they think. In school, Charlotte was the #2 destination for anyone in the undergrad finance/business school (NYC being #1, of course), so I think the banking draw is growing among younger people. I personally moved down here because I believe this city is going places, and seeing it in person has validated that. I think that idea of Charlotte being the rising star of the south or the 'new' south is becoming a larger part of the city's identity.

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These days, Baltimore probably garners most of its fame from "The Corner" or "The Wire" (great series by the way) more than anything.

One thing I will say about Charlotte though is that I think it has a higher industrial profile in banking and perhaps NASCAR than some other peer cities (and even some larger cities) have in connection with their flagship industries.

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..... Since NASCAR isn't really known in Europe, Charlotte would be considered a banking city by Brits.

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^I mentioned that I'm currently working with Barclays...this weekend they're going to Charleston for the sake of avoiding the NASCAR commotion. They seem well aware of the NASCAR presence here...just not very fond of it.

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^I mentioned that I'm currently working with Barclays...this weekend they're going to Charleston for the sake of avoiding the NASCAR commotion. They seem well aware of the NASCAR presence here...just not very fond of it.

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I don't know how common this is, but the people I have met in Europe, who are into racing know a lot about NASCAR and know that Charlotte is one of the places to visit in the USA if they want to see anything about the industry outside of the races themselves. Some here would be surprised how many go to visit Dale Earnheart's place even though its not really setup for the public, there is the soon to be the museum in downtown, there is Waltrup's new visitors center where you can watch them build racing cars and be on Speed TV, and even Joey Gibbs Racing's new facility in Huntersville appeared in Architectural Digest a few years ago.

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I don't know how common this is, but the people I have met in Europe, who are into racing know a lot about NASCAR and know that Charlotte is one of the places to visit in the USA if they want to see anything about the industry outside of the races themselves. Some here would be surprised how many go to visit Dale Earnheart's place even though its not really setup for the public, there is the soon to be the museum in downtown, there is Waltrup's new visitors center where you can watch them build racing cars and be on Speed TV, and even Joey Gibbs Racing's new facility in Huntersville appeared in Architectural Digest a few years ago.

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Ok...I am somewhat new on here...who or what are Barclays or the Barclays?

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Especially on the East Coast, Charlotte is most known for its airport. Over 20,000,000 people a year fly through (notice I said through, not to) Charlotte. To put that in perspective that is 10 times the annual attendance of Lowes Motor Speedway, Bank of America Stadium, and Bobcats Arena combined. Most everyone I have met that is not from Charlotte on the east coast has flown through our airport.

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Especially on the East Coast, Charlotte is most known for its airport. Over 20,000,000 people a year fly through (notice I said through, not to) Charlotte. To put that in perspective that is 10 times the annual attendance of Lowes Motor Speedway, Bank of America Stadium, and Bobcats Arena combined. Most everyone I have met that is not from Charlotte on the east coast has flown through our airport.

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