The National Basketball Association announced its plans to withdraw the annual All-Star Game from North Carolina due to the anti-transgender bathroom bill that was signed into law four months ago.
According to NBC News, the move will result in the loss of millions of dollars to tourism, the hospitality industry and businesses city wide.
“The loss to hotels is in the millions of dollars because here’s one piece of business that would’ve created a citywide — in other words, a regional — sellout,” said Sid Smith, executive director of the Charlotte Area Hotel Association. “There are approximately 33,000 rooms in the Charlotte region and virtually all of them would’ve been sold,” adding that hoteliers would likely have been able to charge a premium of up to 20 percent that weekend.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to pull the plug on the event in Charlotte is a direct result of the HB2 “bathroom bill,” which many viewed as discriminatory to the LGBT community. Silver warned that the league might take the All-Star weekend away from Charlotte if the bill becomes law, Mother Jones reports.
“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the NBA said in a statement Thursday via Mother Jones. The league plans to reconsider Charlotte as a site in 2019 “provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter.”
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCroy shot back by saying that “sports and entertainment elite,” coupled with the liberal media, have misrepresented the law’s intentions.
“American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process,” he said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time an anti-LGBT piece of legislation has been criticized by a professional sports league. Following Arizona’s attempt to pass a law that would let businesses turn away gay, lesbian, and transgender customers as an expression of the business owner’s religious beliefs, NFL officials threatened to relocate the Super Bowl from Arizona to Tampa.
The NFL also suggested that Atlanta’s bid to host the Super Bowl in 2019 was at risk over Georgia’s similar “religious freedom” law, which Gov. Nathan Deal eventually vetoed.
Featured image: Pat McCrory via YouTube