RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Officials expect more events and conventions to pull out of North Carolina as a result of the NBA relocating the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte due to House Bill 2.
The bill has been responsible for cancelled concerts, conventions and company expansions since it was enacted in March.
In the Raleigh area, at least 19 convention groups have pulled out citing HB2. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau says the area has lost about $5.5 in revenue due to the cancellations. Officials worry that number may grow as the NBA’s decision puts HB2 back in the spotlight.
“I think there are groups that might have been hesitating and this will now give them more cause for concern,” said Dennis Edwards, president of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Edwards says some of the groups cancelled because they were boycotting the bill. Others were forced to cancel because of either states or cities implementing travel bans to North Carolina or corporate sponsors pressuring on the groups.
The City of Charlotte is expected to lose at least $100-million dollars of revenue now that the 2017 All-Star Game is being moved elsewhere.
Democratic State Senator Floyd McKissick believes other dominoes will fall as a result of the NBA’s decision to pull out of North Carolina.
“I think all of these commitments that have been made or on the table in our state are at risk,” said McKissick. “We could lose more conventions, businesses, industries, you name it.”
Some of the biggest revenue generators on the horizon for North Carolina are NCAA events. Greensboro is scheduled to host regional March Madness games in 2017 and Charlotte has been slated for a host city in 2018.
On Friday, the NCAA announced they were sending a questionnaire about potential discrimination laws to organizers in cities that will be or are hoping to host sanctioned college sporting events. Host cities and potential host cities will now have to prove to the NCAA how they plan on protecting participants and fans from discrimination.
“We hope the NCAA gives us the ability to address their concerns city by city, county by county, as opposed to just putting us under one state umbrella,” said Edwards.
Edwards says Raleigh plans to submit bids to the NCAA for events in 2018-2022. He says HB2 has yet to have an impact on sporting events in the Raleigh area.
“Our message to the NCAA is that we have always been, continue to be and will always be an inclusive, very diverse, very open community,” said Edwards.
Despite potential revenue loss, Governor Pat McCrory is standing by the merit and value of the bill.
“In any decision I make, I pick common sense values to protect our children and our schools over money,” said McCrory.
Multiple sources have reported that the 2017 All-Star Game will be moved to New Orleans, but the NBA has no confirmed that.
Silver did confirm in Thursday’s statement that Charlotte would host the game in 2019, but there was a catch.
“We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter,” he said.