NC towns, counties hoping NCAA decision will bring championship dollars

The NCAA Women's College Cup soccer final in Cary, N.C., in 2015, before the NCAA moved such games out of North Carolina in response to House Bill 2. (AP file photo)

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Towns and cities across the Triangle are breathing a big sigh of relief after the NCAA announced it will consider bids from North Carolina for tournaments.

The Town of Cary is taking the chance to fill seats at WakeMed Soccer Park.

“Over the past decade we’ve hosted over 50 college championships and it’s brought in over 100 million,” said Doug McRainey, Director of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources.

Because of HB2 Cary’s economy has lost out on millions of dollars.

“The College Cup we were supposed to host last year. We were also supposed to host our first Division I lacrosse last year, it would have been in May, that was pulled from us,” said McRainey.

They now have 27 bids in with the NCAA to host various tournaments and championships over the next four years.

“We’re optimistic that we’ll be awarded some of the bids now in April,” said Dennis Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Including Cary, Wake County has 57 bids total for basketball, soccer, lacrosse, softball, cross country, tennis and wrestling.

“Collectively over a four year period, it could be anywhere from $20 million to $30 million worth of economic impact for the communities,” said Edwards.

The NCAA isn’t fully embracing North Carolina though, adding some stipulations to sites that are awarded bids, and changes to the bidding process.

“There was some new language in the bids this year that actually address a lot of the discrimination and safety issues. We’re not really sure if they’re going to require more information than what was submitted in the earlier bids,” said Edwards.

The Wake County business community is hoping the NCAA’s uncertain approval will usher in other events and companies.

“Hopefully any group that was still a little hesitant will follow the NCAA’s lead and continue to come back to the state,” said Edwards.

Localities should start hearing back about bids in the next two weeks.

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