The ACC’s decision to move their eight conference championship games and tournaments from North Carolina was the best move for a variety or reasons.
Editor’s Note: Before people on both sides of the argument over North Carolina’s controversial bathroom law get all upset with what they think this article is about, calm down. Politics is being kept out of this mostly because of how polarizing the subject matter is.
We all have opinions on it, including those of us here at Chop Chat. This article will focus on the public relations and economic impact of the move. Please refrain from denigrating anyone’s opinion either pro or con about House Bill 2, the transgender community or specific religious beliefs.
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First, it was the NBA and the 2017 All-Star Game. Then, the NCAA followed suit last week and removed all championship games and tournaments from North Carolina.
After that, all eyes turned to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Greensboro, NC based league had dragged their feet for months over whether or not to move their championship games from the state as well, thanks to House Bill 2.
The controversial bill, which prohibits members of the transgender community from using the public bathroom of the gender they identify with now and instead the one they were born into, has been a lightning rod on both sides of the issue. The public relations and economic firestorm was too much for many to handle.
In the end, the ACC announced that it was indeed moving all eight championships in the 2016-17 year scheduled to be played in North Carolina. Included in that are women’s soccer and basketball, baseball and the football title game being played in just over two and a half months (men’s basketball is scheduled to be played in Brooklyn, NY for the next two seasons).
It was the right move.
From an economic angle, the conference now doesn’t have to worry about potential sponsors backing out if the games were to be kept in the state while debate continued to rage. If the football title game does in fact move back to Florida as it likely will, you could see the first sellout in years if both FSU and Miami make it – something that is very likely.
If the ACC is able to move the remaining seven championships to places where they can get the most $$$ out of it, the move will look like a success – something the league needs.
From a public relations angle, the continuing debate is something that the ACC didn’t need to deal with. It’s one thing when you could hide behind the NCAA, NBA or other sports leagues holding events there – but when everyone else skips town, you can’t be left with the check.
Quite frankly (especially with the football title game that will likely showcase at least one top five team this year), every question would have been about House Bill 2 if the title games were left in the state. At a point where the ACC is trying hard to establish itself as a true Power Five conference in all sports, distractions are not helpful.
The issue surrounding the bill’s purpose is one that is debated across the country. Those who agree with the bill and those who oppose it are both nailed down to their beliefs and will fight for them until the end. When the ACC was the last organization that had a major footprint in the state, it became increasingly smarter for them to head out and leave the politics alone.
In all likelihood, the ACC will one day return home and bring their championship games with them. It remains to be seen if House Bill 2 will still exist when that takes place. In the meantime, commissioner John Swofford and the member schools who agreed to the relocation made the best decision for the ACC at this time.