The HB2 bill has been a source of much controversy for the state of North Carolina. While regulators continue to debate over this law and attempt to amend it due to the economic and social impact it has created, the NBA has stepped in and landed a fatal blow, with Adam Silver announcing today of their decision to pull the upcoming All-Star Weekend from the city of Charlotte.
I am not going to get into the politics for this article. Instead, I'm going to stick to the basketball implications for the city of Charlotte, and potentially every sport and major event moving forward.
Adam Silver has felt pressure from the league and sponsors to relocate the game since the law came into effect. The new bathroom regulation in North Carolina has driven many music artists and other performers to cancel their upcoming scheduled shows throughout the state. Most recently, Governor Cuomo issued a ban on “non-essential government travel” from New York to North Carolina.
This has caused SUNY Albany to cancel their basketball game against the Duke Blue Devils this upcoming season and was the first domino to fall in a potential damaging chain reaction. The city of Charlotte has been riding high in the sports world. The Panthers had a tremendous amount of success last season and are predicted to match their historic performance this year. The Hornets won their first playoff basketball game since 2002, and have exciting franchise players like Kemba Walker and Nic Batum to look forward too. In a city of, let’s just say, “lack-luster” fanship, a buzz has finally started to take form.
Source: Kent Smith (via FoxSports.com)
This All-Star game could have continued this momentum, and now they can chalk it up as another disappointment. Last season, the 2016 All-Star Weekend generated upwards of $100 million in economic benefit for the city of Toronto. It was a terrific event for the city, for the NBA and for the Toronto Raptors specifically. They benefited greatly from the excitement, selling out a majority of their games and riding high to their best season in franchise history. You can make the argument that this event could have had a similar effect for the city of Charlotte and the Hornets. Now we will never know.
This move by the NBA may cause a tremendous ripple effect for Charlotte and the state of North Carolina. In a city set to host NCAA tournament games, The PGA Championship, amongst other major events, this will only bring more pressure to state regulators. The potential of losing more money may be enough to bring anything to an agreement. The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce said that the law cost the city $285.5 million, at the end of May of this year. Just tack on another $100 million to that now. As the Federal and State governments continue to battle over this controversial bill, one thing is for certain. The city of Charlotte has taken a huge hit, and it may be far from over.
The NBA has assured Charlotte that if HB2 is resolved to their satisfaction, it will host the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, but there is a lot of work to be done before that can happen. They are losing the biggest outside sporting event to come to this city in recent years, hundreds of millions of dollars, and the publicity that comes along with it.