CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Officials with the Atlantic Coast Conference have announced it will host this year's Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship at Orlando's Camping World Stadium.
The game, which was slated to be held in Charlotte, was pulled from North Carolina due to fallout over House Bill 2.
HB2 requires individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools and universities, and initially took away the ability of employees to sue their employers in state court for discrimination or wrongful termination, among other things.
Months later, the legislature voted only to change a portion of HB2 that stripped workers of the right to sue their employers for wrongful termination.
The bill was passed in a one-day special session in late March and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory later that night.
It came as a response to a non-discrimination ordinance passed in February by the Charlotte City Council. The ordinance broadly defined how businesses should treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers. The debate, as in other cities, focused on bathrooms.
Two weeks ago, the conference announced it was pulling all of its "neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year" over House Bill 2.
The decision was made during a meeting of the ACC Council of Presidents in Clemson.
"As members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC Council of Presidents reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination," a release from the council said. "Every one of our 15 universities is strongly committed to these values and therefore, we will continue to host ACC Championships at campus sites."
"We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as a result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year," the statement continued. "All locations will be announced in the future from the conference office."
The move came two days after the National College Association of Athletes (NCAA)'s announced it would pull all championship events from North Carolina over issues surrounding House Bill 2.
Neutral site championships (in date order):
- Women’s Soccer
- Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving
- Women’s Basketball
- Men’s and Women’s Tennis
- Women’s Golf
- Men’s Golf
Charlotte Regional Visitor's Authority CEO Tom Murray called the cancellation of the football championship "a blow to Charlotte's visitor economy and is irreplaceable at this late date."
"The event has consistently generated significant economic impact for the city that greatly contributes to our quality of life in Charlotte and in North Carolina and helps sustain thousands of jobs," Murray said. "We've proven to be a welcoming host city for these events and hope we'll have the opportunity to bring the championship back to Charlotte in future years."
According to Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), economic impact of the ACC Championship game in 2015 was $32.4 million. The previous year brought in $30.9 million. More than 104,000 people attended the games in 2014 and 2015.
The city was slated to be host to the game through 2019.
The game will still kick off Saturday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m.
People who previously had tickets for the game in Charlotte will have a three-day pre-sale opportunity starting October 5.
Tickets will be available to the general public via Ticketmaster on October 10 at 10 a.m. As in the past, the Atlantic Champion and Coastal Champion will each have an allotment that will be sold by the respective institution once they have clinched their division championship.
This is the sixth time the championship game has been played in the state of Florida.