Democracy Dies in Darkness

Early Lead

Sports leagues are fleeing North Carolina over HB2, and it's costing the state millions

By Matt Bonesteel

November 4, 2016 at 9:54 AM

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has staunchly defended the state’s so-called “bathroom law.” (Gerry Broome/Associated Press)

First, the NBA pulled the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte over HB2, North Carolina's so-called "bathroom law" that says transgender people must use the restroom corresponding with their birth gender in municipal buildings and bans North Carolina municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination policies. Then the NCAA moved first-round NCAA men's basketball tournament games and six other events out of the state because of the law. And finally, the ACC — which is headquartered in North Carolina — announced that it wouldn't be holding any championships in the state because of HB2, moving seven events elsewhere, including the ACC football title game on Dec. 3.

It's costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Here's a Forbes graphic with the breakdown:

(Graphic via Forbes)

Overall, Forbes estimates that North Carolina has lost at least $630 million because of HB2, considering the sporting events, concerts and businesses that have fled the state. Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) has said that he will work to repeal the bill if he defeats Gov. Pat McCrory (R) in Tuesday's election. McCrory has remained steadfast in his support of the law.

Cooper has a slight lead over McCrory in the latest RealClearPolitics poll average, and a Charlotte Observer poll taken last month showed that more than half of the state's likely voters favor an HB2 repeal.

Two new sporting events will take place in North Carolina, however. On Friday, McCrory announced that the 2018 World Equestrian Games will take place in Charlotte, an event he claims will bring in $400 million and draw more than 500,000 spectators to the state.

"This is bigger, with all due respect, than the All-Star Game, a football game, a basketball game – combined, times two. This economic impact is huge," McCrory said, per the Charlotte Observer.

North Carolina State University also will host the Hula Bowl starting in January 2018. The college football all-star game has not been played since 2008 and has never been hosted outside Hawaii. The most recent game drew just 2,000 fans to a 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and The Post's other Web-based products.

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