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ACC returns title football game to Charlotte following HB2 repeal

Gov. Cooper says HB2 replacement bill is a compromise

Gov. Roy Cooper hosted a press conference after signing a compromise bill passed by he General Assembly on Thursday that replaces House Bill 2 but restricts anti-discrimination ordinances in cities and counties.
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Gov. Roy Cooper hosted a press conference after signing a compromise bill passed by he General Assembly on Thursday that replaces House Bill 2 but restricts anti-discrimination ordinances in cities and counties.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is returning championship events to North Carolina, including its title football game in Charlotte, now that North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 is off the books.

The conference said Wednesday morning that the Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship Game will take place Dec. 2 at Bank of America Stadium. Following similar moves by the NCAA and NBA, the ACC had pulled the game from Charlotte in September over HB2, the recently-repealed state law that limited anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which promotes tourism and hotel bookings in the city, estimates the football game had an economic impact of $32.4 million in 2015, making it one of the city’s biggest annual events.

The NCAA similarly announced Tuesday that Greensboro and Raleigh would host men’s basketball tournament games, and that championships in dozens of other sports would be played in North Carolina now that HB2 has been replaced with a compromise measure. Charlotte, which had submitted bids to host men’s basketball tournaments for three years, was not selected.

The ACC said championship events in women’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s tennis will also return to the state during the 2017-18 academic year, and the ACC women’s soccer championship will follow suit in November 2018.

The ACC also said contracts with venues that had multi-year agreements with the conference were extended a year to compensate for games that were relocated from North Carolina in the 2016-17 season. That means that the ACC’s contract at Bank of America Stadium runs through 2020.

“We value all of our partners in North Carolina and appreciate their support and cooperation. We are thrilled to renew our relationships with so many terrific people, outstanding cities and first-class venues,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.

North Carolina venues became eligible again to host ACC championships after Republican legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, facing a reported NCAA-imposed deadline, negotiated a compromise to replace HB2.

House Bill 142 repealed HB2, including regulations on bathroom access by transgender people, but restricts local governments’ authority to create their own non-discrimination ordinances through 2020. Several advocacy groups, including Equality NC, say the repeal effort does not do enough to support the LGBT community.

“We appreciate the action and confidence of the ACC Council of Presidents and look forward to working with the ACC to make the 2017 championship game the best ever. Information on ticket sales for the 2017 Dr Pepper Football Championship Game in Charlotte will be forthcoming,” Will Weber, president of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, said in a statement.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

In the Triangle

  • The ACC baseball championship will return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, the tournament will be held at the stadium May 22-27.
  • Semifinals and finals of the ACC women’s soccer championship will be played at WakeMed Soccer Park Nov. 2-4, 2018. The town has hosted all or part of the tournament 11 times since 2003.
  • Men’s and women’s ACC tennis championships will return to Cary Tennis Park on April 25-29, 2018. The venue has been the site of the league’s tennis championships 11 times since 2005.

In the Triad

  • The ACC women’s basketball tournament will be held at the Greensboro Coliseum for the 18th time in 19 years, Feb. 28-March 4, 2018. The coliseum is expected to play host to the tournament through 2023.
  • The Greensboro Aquatic Center will host both men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships for the conference in February 2018. Like women’s basketball, swimming will be held in Greensboro through 2023.
  • The conference’s women’s golf championship will be held in April 2018 at the Ross Course of Greensboro’s Sedgefield Country Club. The tournament had been held at Sedgefield between 2009 and 2016 and is contracted to remain until 2021.

Elsewhere in NC

  • The ACC men’s golf championship tees off at New London’s Old North State Club in April 2018. The tournament had been held at the Uwharrie National Forest golf club from 2002 through 2016 and is contracted to stay until 2021.
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