GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- It’s not the first time we’ve heard about the economic impact of sporting events leaving North Carolina because of HB2. However, many fear if sports leave there’s going to be a trickle-down effect to other things.
A number of communities in our area have already reported losses. They say organizations and event planners don’t want to use facilities in North Carolina. If the NCAA decides to pull major events out of North Carolina leaders here in the east fear others could follow suit.
“HB2 has become a cloud.” Lenoir County Commissioner Craig Hill said.
In the last year a number of events were pulled from our area. In Greenville, it was it was NCAA golf. Ultimate Frisbee and rugby tournaments were also removed. Kinston lost a college world series.
“It really is not a matter of whether you’re for HB2 or not for HB2, the reality is HB2 has become a cloud and we need to find a compromise,” Hill said.
On Tuesday, the NCAA gave North Carolina 48 hours to repeal HB2.
Sources say if it doesn’t, the state will lose all tournament and championship bids.
“A lot of people look to the NCAA to see what they’re going to do and then they follow suit,” Greenville convention and visitors bureau executive director Andrew Schmidt said.
Andrew Schmidt is tasked with bringing events to Greenville.
He told 9 On Your Side the NCAA’s decision could affect not just other sporting events, but a host of categories.
Schmidt said, “You’re starting a trend that’s a negative trend, and that’s not something you want to do as a destination you want to be perceived as a place that’s welcoming.”
There are two sides to every story. Keith Kidwell shared why, despite everything, he still stands with the law.
Beaufort County republican Keith Kidwell said, “So what they’re saying is expose your women and children to risk, or we’re not going to do business with you. Do we want to do business with those people, I don’t.”
We also reached out to tourism officials in Washington, NC. That city hasn’t felt much of impact. Officials say most of their events are local.
The NCAA told our sister station in Raleigh, the organization is set to make a decision by noon tomorrow about where it will host tournament sites through 2022.