College sports are big money, and losing them can cost a state, big-time.
The Atlantic Coast Conference's announcement Wednesday to relocate all neutral-site championships from North Carolina was yet another hit to the state over its controversial "bathroom law."
The ACC decision comes just two day after the NCAA announced it will pull all 2017 championships from the state as well. In July, the NBA announced the decision to relocate its 2017 All Star Game from Charlotte due to the law, also known as HB2. The economic cost as a result of lost sport-related business could top $100 million, experts say.
Sports business professor Patrick Rishe, writing at Forbes, identified four areas the state will likely lose out based on the NBA and NCAA's decisions to pull out of the state:
- Loss of new spending by non-North Carolina residents (coming to the state for sports events)
- Leakage of spending by North Carolina residents (going to other states to see sports events)
- Loss of new spending by non-local organizations (event-related expenditures)
- Loss of local spending through the multiplier effect (money injected into the NC economy gets spent at local businesses who then spend money at other local businesses)
It's tough to put an exact number on any of those, but by looking at spending for previous games and tournaments, Rishe puts a conservative estimated loss for 2017 at $112.5 million. And that estimate was made before the ACC's decision was announced.
"With the ACC events pulling out," Rishe, the director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis, told CNBC in an email, "I'd say we're looking at lost spending between $125 million - $175 million in 2017 due to lost sports-tourism spending."