Editorial: HB2 folly sends fans, NC jobs and millions to other states

Posted December 2, 2016

A CBC Editorial: Friday, Dec.2, 2016; Editorial# 8089
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

This weekend North Carolina is boosting the economies of Florida and California.

The ACC football championship, which was supposed to be played in Charlotte, is being hosted by Orlando. $32 MILLION. Cha-ching!

The NCAA Division 1 Women’s Soccer Championship (featuring the UNC Tar Heels), was supposed to be in Cary. Instead of playing in front of a home-state crowd, the Heels are at the championships on the west coast, in San Jose. $4 MILLION. Cha-ching!

North Carolina-based vendors, merchants, restaurants, motels – all that just a few months ago were anticipating a big-business weekend – are quiet and struggling. The reason is House Bill 2.

No one understands it better than Hill Carrow, CEO of Sports & Properties Inc., a sports and entertainment marketing and development firm. He founded the State Games of North Carolina, the Triangle Sports Commission and the N.C. Sports Association. If he didn’t invent sports tourism, he coined the term.

Since the mid-1980s there’s hardly been a significant sporting event – large or small -- in North Carolina that he hasn’t had a hand in. His work has been instrumental in making the state third in the nation in landing NCAA tournament and championship events.

In a single day in March, Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly brought all that to a screeching halt. HB2 has jeopardized what Carrow, who works with many groups organizing sporting events including Capitol Broadcasting Company, has spent more than 30 years building.

Right now, he estimates, North Carolina communities are pitching themselves to host more than 200 sporting events – from the USA Rugby college championships and national figure skating championships to NCAA regional and national championships.

In a matter of weeks, in fact, the NCAA will be making decisions on which locations will host regional and national events from 2018 through 2022. Unless something miraculously changes soon, HB2 will put North Carolina out of the picture. The hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs associated with those events will enrich other communities in other states.

How bad is it? Carrow says the folks who run the National Figure Skating Championships are just in love with North Carolina. The 2015 national in Greensboro was a smashing success. The praise for the local organizers and community support was universal and included regional events in Raleigh and Charlotte.

But now, Carrow says he can’t even get the association to send him an “RFP” (request for proposal) to bid to host a future championship.

The national Masters’ Championships, a sort of Olympics for older athletes, was first organized by Carrow and launched in North Carolina. But with many of the athletes reluctant to come to North Carolina, the championships have been moved to California.

“It is a challenge to offer, sell and promote our state when we’ve got this dark cloud hanging over our heads,” Carrow said. “HB2 is a part of every consideration, whether we like it or not. It’s just bad for business.”

The loss of a significant sporting event, Carrow points out, is very different than the loss of a similar-sized event for, say, a professional association. A conference or convention has limited reach.

Sporting events attract families and fans from far and wide to North Carolina. Events are broadcast and spectators can attend – making it entertainment for an entire community.

This is the kind of branding that doesn’t just build a sport, but shows the vitality of a community. “It displays the quality of life and entertainment opportunities,” Carrow said. “It is brand building.”

As Carrow points out, the devastating impact of HB2 isn’t short-term. As long as the legislature stubbornly clings to it, it will limit our economy, slow our progress and mire our image in disrepute.

Decisions are being made now that will close North Carolina out from sporting events – and the recognition and goodwill that come with them – for at least five years.

HB2 is discriminatory. Businesses, entertainers and associations are avoiding North Carolina because they know HB2 is bad business.

North Carolina cannot wait. It needs to be repealed at the earliest opportunity.


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  • Sierra Thomas Dec 3, 2016
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    I have every right to call you hypocritical. Trump is a man who admits to walking into dressing rooms and inappropriately touching women, the exact kind of "pervert" you claim HB2 should be protecting against. So at least be honest and admit that you just don't like transgender people.

  • Marion Lee Hayes Dec 2, 2016
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    Jim I see you don't understand my comment. I don't support this stupid law either. But you would rather jump up and try to make somebody look stupid. That's ok cause you may not read and understand which is obvious by your comment

  • John Ragan Dec 2, 2016
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    nuff said......CBC editorial debunked

  • Patrick Morningstar Dec 2, 2016
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    Nice try but until Trump tries to pass laws that make it legal to do such things, you have no ground to call me a hypocrite

  • Jacob Young Dec 2, 2016
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    The last 'C' in CBC stands for 'company'. One would think that the executives of a high profile company like CBC would have a vested interested in improving the image of North Carolina instead of continually dumping on it through these silly partisan attacks they call opinions.

    The real numbers point to a much more optimistic portrait of the area. Take for example, Wake County Building Permits. They are way still up by 261 from this time last year: http://www.wakegov.com/tax/statistics/Building%20Permit%20Data/October%202016.xls

    Take a look at this State of Downtown Raleigh 2016 brochure, http://godowntownraleigh.com/_files/sod_website.pdf. Pretty impressive!

    CBC needs to stop the funeral dirge and start lifting up the people of NC and start proclaiming what a great state we have.

  • David Cates Dec 2, 2016
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    Your editorials are becoming tiresome, repetitive and wholly one sided. Growing up with WRAL Jesse Helms used to give on-air edititorials. While your messages are 180 degrees different your positions are just as one-sided as his were. I thought journalists were supposed to at least appear to be objective. It appears that your argument is that money means more than anything but I believe you're only espousing this as a scare tatic to try an sway people's opinions. This is a sad day for WRAL.

  • Amy Whaley Dec 2, 2016
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    lol, good try. Since the media only pushes hype and no fact check.... here is a good site to explain HB2 http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ignore-the-hype-here-s-what-employers-66257/

    I believe the Democrats started this mess in an election year in order to do as they have done....

  • Sierra Thomas Dec 2, 2016
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    For those of you who think HB2 is good because it keeps your women and children safe, did you also vote for Trump? Because this is a man who stated that he walked into dressing rooms at the Miss America pageants while contestants were changing, and who also stated that he could grab women whenever he wanted and got away with it. You can't be for HB2 and also support Donald Trump; that would be extreme hypocrisy.

  • Jim Bob Johnson Dec 2, 2016
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    How do you know there aren't? Have you secretly started work as the bathroom police to enforce this ridiculous law?

  • Brendan Dillon Dec 2, 2016
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    You don't know how right you are. Before this debacle, there were no laws in NC of any kind regarding bathroom access - except in Charlotte, which had its own version of HB2 that passed in the nineties. Charlotte simply repealed that law and brought their law in line with the rest of the state. Only then did the GOP decide there was anything wrong with state law.