GREENSBORO, N.C. – Greensboro Sports Commission President Kim Strable describes warning lawmakers of the consequences of waiting too long to repeal House Bill 2 as “sounding the alarm.”
Strable spent part of the War Memorial Commission’s meeting explaining the lobbying effort as an impending NCAA headline approaches to decide championship locations for the next four years.
In a letter to lawmakers sent out Monday, sports officials warned final decisions will be made in April, and North Carolina will be dropped from consideration unless HB2 is repealed.
“This isn't a projection, this is real,” Strable said.
The Coliseum saw good numbers in the past months in terms of revenue, especially with the circus in town and a surprise UNC basketball game last weekend, but it’s a drop in the bucket.
The Coliseum would have brought in $72,261 from the ACC Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship this month, but the ACC moved the event out of North Carolina because of HB2.
In March, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament would have brought in $493,124. These numbers are estimations the Coliseum makes based on expected revenue from net concessions, parking, merchandise and rent.
“Committees are making decisions, some have already made them,” Strable said.
The state has 133 bids for hosting NCAA championship events through 2022. Fifty-five of those bids come from Greensboro, which the Coliseum estimates in total would bring in $118,523,192 of economic impact.
“It's hard to find things of that magnitude that have the combination of obviously economic impact from the visitors to the buzz and the atmosphere you create in your community, for your state, for your region. The heritage and the pride that goes with that, all that is part of it,” Strable said.
And Strable said the boycott impacts more than sports, but tourism, which is a nearly billion dollar industry for Greensboro every year.
“People's livelihoods, their jobs, businesses and so forth rely on tourism in our state,” he said.
Major players in the coliseum are hoping to offset these loses, but are not sure if they will recover. The circus leaving after this year is another blow, and while musical performers may not be publicly boycotting the state, the Coliseum is seeing fewer performers agree to come here.
The NCAA decisions on future locations are expected to be made in March and an announcement will be made in mid-April.