Local News

After NBA pulls All-Star Game, tourism groups worry about future of NC events

Posted July 22, 2016

— Opponents of North Carolina's House Bill 2 on Friday said the National Basketball Association's decision to pull its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte was a "deep and preventable" loss.

On Thursday, the NBA announced it would relocate the 2017 game from Charlotte, citing discrimination in HB2, which requires transgender people use public bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates. Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said the bill is the worst anti-LGBTQ bill in the country.

North Carolina has been the focus of the nation and in-state criticism every single day since this awful law was passed," Sgro said. "And the warning bells about this law have been going off since before it was even signed."

Sgro estimated the losses from the game could top $100 million. House Bill 2 (HB2) Convention recruiters report push-back over HB2

Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday that the NBA's decision is "PC BS."

"It has nothing to do with discrimination, because if it had to do with discrimination, the NBA would be canceling their games in China right now and the NBA would not be playing in over 20 states that have the exact same laws that we have," he said.

McCrory also asserted Friday that the "political left in Charlotte" generated negative attention over the bill and influenced the NBA's decision.

"It was meant to be used as a distraction against the incredible economic success that we're having in North Carolina," he said. "In fact, today our unemployment rate dropped below 5 percent. I'm still not sure what this issue has to do with corporation or a sports and entertainment (event) wanting to come to our state. It's a lot of propaganda and false information that has been directed toward our state. And I'm going to call people out on the misinformation that's been directed toward us."

After the NBA bowed out, though, tourism groups are worried about other organizations and events following suit.

Officials at the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are currently working on bids to bring 62 NCAA tournament events to the region between 2018 through 2022, including the regional tournament for men's basketball.

Dennis Edwards, CEO of the bureau, is now concerned that the NCAA could follow the NBA's lead; he said the NBA's decision could give an "easy out" to groups that are on the fence about coming to the state.

All 62 events could generate up to $30 million for the city of a four-year period.

"Now with the NBA's decision, I think it may give them a bit more cover to possibly make some tough decisions and take NC completely out of consideration," Edwards said. "We hope that's not the case."

Any time you get a national story like this, it's definitely going to give us a black eye once again," Edwards said. "Not only for Charlotte but the entire state of North Carolina."

Economic losses from the loss of conventions and conferences in Raleigh and Wake County could top $40 million. Officials haven't yet seen a big impact from the loss of sporting events, but Edwards said he believes it's only a matter of time before that happens.

Recently, the US Ultimate Frisbee College Nationals Tournament announced that it wouldn't come back to Wake County next year due to House Bill 2. Officials estimate it generated $400,000 of economic impact a year ago.

"Groups that are on the fence on whether or not they should reconsider coming to NC, I think this gives them an easy out now to just fall in line with the NBA," Edwards said.

The NCAA has also enacted anti-discrimination measures for any school hosting playoff events. Schools wishing to host championship events must now prove they don't discriminate with their facilities and operations through a 7-page anti-discrimination questionaire. North Carolina schools and cities are currently scheduled to host nine NCAA championship events in the next two years.

The NBA released a statement about the decision that reads in part, “Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view."

In the statement, the NBA said they hope to have Charlotte host the 2019 All-Star Game.

“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."


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  • Lee Outland Jul 25, 2016
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    Justa Freek - You seem to have a predisposition to this sort of thing... Genital Fixation Disorder (GFD), much? Have you been seen by a psychiatric professional, yet? Ever? Or maybe you just haven't gotten caught yet... Get help, dood!

  • Alex Wilson Jul 22, 2016
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    the problem is that NC took this bad bill even further in its discrimination then the other States you mentioned. The GOP VP nominee had the same problem in Indiana last year and then money talked and he reversed it.

    McCroy wants to stand his ground to save face at the expense and embarrassment of the state.

  • John Johnson Jul 22, 2016
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    nba Double Standards & Discrimination. Punishing the Real Supporting FANS, Many Who Have Already Made Paid Plans to Attend the ALL-STAR Game! But the nba Doesn't Discriminate with These States that Has the Same Type Law as North Carolina. Alabama, Georgia, LOUISIANA, TEXAS, UTAH, Wisconsin, W, Virginia, Maine, OKLAHOMA, So By Their ?? Standards They're Illegally going to Play in Some of these States. So When Did they Go For Being a Sport to Politics. nba is Showing Discrimination & Very Unprofessional Bias!! Fans, that they OWE it To, Are being Discriminated against Are Being Hated by Bad Leadership. nba hates Fans..

  • John Smith Jul 22, 2016
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    So...you folks supporting the NBA are ok with them playing in China where they are harvesting human organs by force? How about forced abortions?

  • Teddy Fowler Jul 22, 2016
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    NBA did practically nothing. It just so happened that the All Star was going to be played in Charlotte... what would they have done if it wasn't? What about the other 41 games being played? Ultimately they aren't making a political statement.... they are make a financial decision that won't hurt the bottom line

  • Matt Carter Jul 22, 2016
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    Does anyone really watch the NBA?
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/share/page/1896337/?id=15869579#d2aIElkRyw8VZBQG.99

    Nah. NBA makes billions with no watchers. Cause that makes sense.

  • Jim Williams Jul 22, 2016
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    Does anyone really watch the NBA all star game? Does anyone really watch the NBA? It is a boring product. Further, when do we let sports leagues dictate legislation?

  • Jeffrey Derry Jul 22, 2016
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  • Clarence Hill Jul 22, 2016
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    A few week ago, a lady in a Charlotte public restroom, found a man in the stall next to her's--allegedly involved in some type of self sexual activity. She took pictures to document and reported it. (The man violated several criminal laws including HB-2.) Thank God, she took care of the problem. If she had not--who knows--the next person to enter may have been an innocent 8-10 year old little girl.

  • Lamario Kelly Jul 22, 2016
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    ...my thing is transgender people have been going into the bathrooms of what they want to be called and it never was an issue then...why are ppl talking about predators when transgender people ha being been using the bathroom of their orientation for a long time...ijs