NFL owners meet in Charlotte this week
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Owners of the 32 teams in the NFL are meeting in Charlotte over the next few days as part of their regularly scheduled spring meeting at the Ballantyne Hotel in south Charlotte.
This comes despite a push from other entities and cities to limit business in Charlotte and North Carolina in light of the passage of House Bill 2, the controversial non-discrimination bill limiting protections for LGBT citizens.
HB2 overturned a non-discrimination local ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council to expand protections to the LGBT community, including a clause to allow people to choose the bathroom or locker room of their gender identification.
Previously, the NFL had expressed its support of the Carolina Panthers and the City of Charlotte as having clear positions against discrimination. Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications for the NFL, said nothing has changed.
NFL owners are expected to vote on Super Bowl host cities for 2018-2020, among other league matters. Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay are in the running.
Panthers spokesperson Steven Drummond said the organization has not approached the NFL about hosting in the year 2021 or beyond. The bid process can take years, said McCarthy.
The NFL requires 20,000 hotel rooms within driving distance of the host city, an area in which Charlotte has made considerable progress the past few years.
Uptown is filled with building cranes with plans for new hotels in the works. Charlotte Center City Partners said more than 2200 hotel rooms are under construction or in planning, increasing the volume from their 2016 report by 49-percent.
"That kind of inventory makes us more competitive for hosting big events like the Super Bowl," said Michael J. Smith, President and CEO, Charlotte Center City Partners.
McCarthy said weather is another factor. The NFL typically chooses Super Bowl locations that have good weather and covered stadiums. The NFL requires a city to have 50-degree average temperature on game day, or all NFL owners must sign a waiver for the host city.
City spokesperson Kathryn Luck would not say whether city leaders have had conversations with the NFL.
"If they did," Luck said, "it would be conducted in closed session and not public information until the bid process."
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