One benefit to all these Republican primary debates — because there really aren't that many, right? — is the discovery of some pretty cool venues around the country. The networks have brought Americans to California's Reagan Library, the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, and the good ol' Milwaukee Theatre. And while the location for Thursday's presidential debate doesn't have a long history, it's sure got a lot going on. So, what is the North Charleston Coliseum?
The Coliseum, situated in South Carolina's third largest city, is part of a larger entertainment campus, which comprises a performing arts center and a convention center in addition to the coliseum. The city of North Charleston owns the venue campus, which opened in 1993 with only the Coliseum built; the two other centers opened in 1999.
The coliseum seats 13,000 people, and is pretty much Charleston's version of Boston's TD Garden or Chicago's United Center. The venue acts as the home ice for the South Carolina Stingrays minor league hockey team and the sometimes home court for Charleston Southern University's basketball team. It's also the place for concerts and other live shows. The Harlem Globetrotters will be playing at the Coliseum just a few days before the debate, and Garth Brooks will be hitting up the locale in February.
The venue was also home to some disaster in the first few years after its opening. In November 1997, the 5-ton scoreboard used for sports games dropped while in the process of being lowered, killing a volunteer who was standing below, preparing for a rodeo scheduled to take place at the coliseum.
The American people were close to never getting a bit more intimate with North Charleston's premier venue. The Republican National Committee only added the North Charleston primary debate in December, and the Jan. 14 event will stand in place of one that had been tentatively scheduled for Lynchburg, Virginia. And because this second Fox Business debate was not one of the original nine sanctioned by the RNC, it's like viewers are getting a bonus trip to South Carolina. Right? That's how I'm feeling, at least.
So Americans may never know what Lynchburg's Liberty University had to offer in terms of ambiance and entertainment value, but they'll see what the North Charleston Coliseum's got in its stead.
The primetime debate will air on Fox Business Network on Thursday, January 14 at 9 p.m. ET, while the undercard debate is scheduled to air at 6 p.m. ET. FBN's Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo will moderate the debate.