Biggest loser over NCAA's HB2 decision? Town of Cary

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The Town of Cary will feel the economic impact of sporting events being pulled from NC.

The Town of Cary is the biggest loser in this new round of ripple effects over House Bill 2.

Four of the seven NCAA championships relocated out of the state were slated to be played at Cary athletic fields. The games will go on, but not in North Carolina - much to the dismay of local hotels, restaurants and shops who were counting on the added business the games promised to bring.

"A lot, a lot, a lot," said Spirit's Pub and Grub manager, Cindi Dooley, when asked how big an impact the loss of the games would have on her Chatham Street bar in downtown Cary.

Dooley says the bar has already lost high-priced reservations tied to conventions and meetings which backed out of North Carolina events in protest of HB2.


Spirit's had already started drawing up special promotions to draw upon the expected influx of out-of-towners looking for a meal and drink after watching the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship at WakeMed Soccer Park down the street starting Dec. 2. Those plans are now off.

"I was very upset because we've had (the championships) come 2 years ago, so we know the business it generates," Dooley said. "That could be roughly $8,000 that we're losing just from those two days."


One day after the NCAA announced it was pulling its championships out of the state in reaction to North Carolina's controversial law restricting public bathroom access for transgender people, Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement.

"I strongly encourage all public and private institutions to both respect and allow our nation's judicial system to proceed without economic threats or political retaliation," McCrory said in the statement. "Sadly, the NCAA, a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt monopoly, failed to show this respect at the expense of our student athletes and hard-working men and women."

Meanwhile, Democrats in the General Assembly, including Raleigh State Rep. Grier Martin, are using the NCAA's decision to renew their call for a full HB2 repeal.

"We called on the governor, Senator (Phil) Berger, and Speaker (Tim) Moore to call (the legislature) into special session immediately. We can do it in one day -- a simple bill, repeal HB2."

But at this point, there is no indication Republicans in the legislature or McCrory would consider a repeal.

The loss of the championships means Cary loses out on $2.5 million in projected tourism dollars. According to the Visitor's Bureau, Wake County's overall HB2 economic losses now total nearly $8 million.

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