Charlotte businesses see economic domino effect after NBA pulls 2017 All-Star game

All star game in Toronto 2016 - Photo by Laslovarga
All star game in Toronto 2016 – Photo by Laslovarga

Area businesses will soon feel the crunch after the NBA’s decision last week to pull the 2017 All-Star game from the Queen City due to controversy over HB2.

Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Charlotte Hornets, spent more than $40 million in renovations — $30 million of which was covered by the city of Charlotte — and those expenses were the first of many economic impacts on Charlotte-area businesses. Renovations for All-Star games and other special events are common, and the profit often outweighs the cost well before the event is over. Charlotte planners expected the event to rake in over $100 million and bring troves of tourists to what is normally a bleak month.

The decision to move the game came after North Carolina passed state law HB2, barring local ordinances from adding protective LGBTQ laws and keeping transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

In a statement released Thursday, the NBA said, “Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change,” adding they hope to return the All-Star game to Charlotte in 2019, granted HB2 has been amended.

“The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks,” the statement concluded.

It’s not just the sports world that is taking a hit. International Business Times reported 18 performances, including Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr, have canceled shows as a result of HB2 as of April. Businesses such as PayPal withheld putting roots down in Charlotte that would have employed 400 people, The Advocate reported.