Losses From Sports Cancellations Over North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Hate Bill Could Exceed $100M

Just days after the NCAA announced it would pull all 2017 championships from the state, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced Wednesday that it too would relocate all neutral-site championships from North Carolina in response to state’s controversial “bathroom law.”

In July, the NBA announced its decision to relocate the 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte due to The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, now known simply as HB2.

The bill, which was signed into law in March by Gov. Pat McCrory, outlaws transgender people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identity and bans local ordinances that would in any way protect gay people from discrimination in housing, employment or accommodation.

The economic impact as a result of lost sport-related business could surpass $100 million, experts say.

“With the ACC events pulling out,” Rishe, the director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis, told CNBC in an email, “I’d say we’re looking at lost spending between $125 million – $175 million in 2017 due to lost sports-tourism spending.”

“The ACC Council of Presidents made it clear that the core values of this league are of the utmost importance, and the opposition to any form of discrimination is paramount,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “Today’s decision is one of principle.”

“It’s certainly plausible,” said Scott Rosner, professor at Wharton’s Sports Business Initiative. “There are also tax dollars that come into the states from performers, teams, etc. that are lost.”

Yahoo Finance adds:

Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College, said he didn’t see Rishe’s estimates as conservative, but “they are not unreasonable.” He suggested the potential multiplier effect — the spending echo through local businesses to the economy as a whole, which Rishe pegged at 1.5 — might be overstated.

“Rishe suggests that there are multiplier effects which could substantially enlarge his estimates, ” Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College, said. “I don’t believe this is so. The multiplier is probably close to one, and may be below one.” With a multiplier of 1, Rishe’s estimate would be at least $75 million.

The next question is what will happen with the 2017 PGA Championship, which is scheduled to be held at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. The golf group has said it opposes HB2, but will not relocate the event that’s currently scheduled.

“The PGA of America strongly opposes North Carolina HB2,” the organization said in a statement in July, following the NBA’s decision. “As we look to future events, our willingness to consider coming back to the State of North Carolina will be severely impacted unless HB2 is overturned.” A spokeswoman confirmed to CNBC that the PGA position has not changed since July.

“I’m sure they don’t want to get bullied by what others are doing,” Rishe told CNBC, “but I think it would be a bad look for the PGA of America if they leave that event in Charlotte unless HB2 is repealed.”