North Carolina is synonymous with college basketball. Home to perennial powerhouse programs like Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, the Tar Heel State has hosted more NCAA men’s basketball tournament games than any other state. But this year, North Carolina won’t be hosting any.
The NCAA announced Monday that all championship tournament events set to take place in North Carolina would be relocated. The decision is a direct response to HB2, a state law that lifted anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. It will affect first and second round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament which were going to be played in Greensboro, as well as a number of other men’s and women’s sports including baseball, lacrosse, and soccer.
The NCAA is the second major sports organization to nix events in North Carolina because of HB2. The NBA said in July that Charlotte would no longer be hosting the league’s 2017 All-Star Game in response to the law’s passing. Both decisions will certainly mean a loss of revenue for the cities, which thrive on tourism from events like the NCAA basketball tournament, but it’s also a blow to the college basketball culture and tradition in which North Carolina is steeped.
What are the local and state economic impacts that can be expected? How are college basketball fans in North Carolina reacting to the news?