Yesterday the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) became the second major college sporting body to pull its championships from North Carolina this week due to the state's HB2, a law that sanctions discrimination against transgender people. Their decision follows NCAA's Monday announcement that it would relocate seven championship events from the Tar Heel State. The organizations join the many other high-profile boycotts of the state, including the NBA All-Star game, Bruce Springsteen, and many conventions.
According to experts, all of these boycotts will have a major impact on the state's bottom line, perhaps adding up to an almost $425 million dollar loss. Cary, which has hosted NCAA championships since 2008 and was slated to host four championships this year, will take a big hit. City officials estimate that they will lose more than $2 million and around 5,300 hotel room nights this year in championship-related tourism. And Cary’s already reeling from Deutsche Bank's decision to halts plans to add 250 new jobs to the city due to HB2.
The serious economic consequences for North Carolina because of its anti-LGBT law should come as no surprise. When Georgia legislators mulled over HB 757, a so-called “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed discrimination, Georgia faced similar warnings. For example, Disney threatened to relocate their shoots based in Georgia and In Missouri, the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference, scheduled to host events there, expressed concern about SJR 39, a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would have allowed businesses and taxpayer-funded organizations to cite religious beliefs to discriminate against same-sex couples. In fact, the Kansas City Sports Commission worried the city could lose up to $50 million a year in economic activity.
What North Carolina shows, though, is that businesses and sports leagues are serious. There are consequences when states pass laws that sanction discrimination.