Expect there to be a bit of scrutiny when a major sports event relocates in order to get away from legislation viewed as discriminatory. Expect there to be even more when the game moves south to find a more inclusive setting.
The NBA has made it official, according to Associated Press, with the announcement that it has moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, to New Orleans, Louisiana.
The ramifications of the move, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), are significant. With the confirmation of the move, the Tar Heel State has lost out on an estimated 100 million dollars in All-Star Game related profits.
Those aren’t numbers any city wants to walk away from. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which positions itself as an inclusive city, particularly through use of its Always Welcome campaign, has been addressing the concerns of its members, according to CEO Tom Murray, who noted that his organization was trying to reassure business owners and visitors of its welcoming climate.
And the concern wasn't confined to Charlotte; it spread state-wide.
“Frustrating,” was how Henri Fourrier, President and CEO of the Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau described the situation to Sports Destination Management. “You work hard to get business and then someone makes a stupid decision.”
According to Yahoo! Finance News, New Orleans was viewed as an optimal choice because of its propensity to welcome diversity. "We embrace our rich cultural heritage and see our diversity as a virtue," Governor John Bel Edwards wrote in a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in late July. "Should the NBA choose to bring the All-Star Game back to New Orleans in 2017, it will strongly reaffirm its commitment to communities that value fairness and inclusion."
However, there are still challenges for the NBA when it hosts the big game. The All-star Game is scheduled for Feb. 19, which falls during the first weekend of Mardi Gras.