Tuesday, March 7, 2017

HB2 - Time's a wastin'

I wish there was breaking news from Jones Street about an HB2 compromise...and repeal. We are running out of time. 

The NCAA, maybe the ACC, could soon extend the boycott of NC as a host for championship events. This time the ban will last for more than a year. 

Various NCAA committees are meeting (now!) and in April they will report out their championship city recommendations for each sport for the next six years. If the LGBT discrimination issue isn't resolved by our lawmakers, the NC ban will continue into the next decade. 

Durham still has a contract for the 2018 ACC Baseball Championship, but it's teetering. 

Background: Durham made a four year commitment to host the ACC Baseball Championship - hoping to become its permanent home. We hosted in 2015 and 2016. Then, the 2017 event was pulled because of HB2, at the behest of the ACC university presidents. It will be played in Louisville this spring.

Impact: In May, our hotels won't post that 25% spike in revenue from 3000 room nights, and our downtown restaurants will miss the 15% increase in business. At the ballpark, 200 seasonal employees will lose a full week's worth of work. And we forfeit the exposure of the national cable broadcast, 200 visiting sports media representatives, and most important, the economic activity generated by 60-70 thousand fans converging on downtown Durham and the DBAP. 

Adding insult to injury: If the Legislature doesn't find a compromise in the next few weeks, the ACC could relocate the 2018 tournament, I've heard that several FL cities would be glad to host it. And the damage to Durham will be doubled. 

These facts far outweigh the emotion that got us into this misguided mess. The North Carolina brand is tarnished, the travel and tourism sector is taking a hit, and so are parking attendants, cooks and housekeepers. 

Durham is a community that celebrates diversity. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, bastion of family entertainment and our National Pastime, doesn't even fall under the purview of the bathroom bill. How did the Bull City become a victim of this political tug of war?!? Memo to Jones Street: It's time to put this behind us. Fix it, please!