May 24, 2017
After a year-long struggle over North Carolina's privacy law, the NBA is finally ready to be a good sport about the policy. League officials announced today that they're following the NCAA in returning to the state after pulling the 2017 All-Star Game in protest. Now, thanks to a minor tweak to H.B. 2, the NBA is back in business -- and proved it by scheduling a return of the 2019 exhibition to Charlotte. Michael Jordan, now the Hornets' owner, cheered the move, saying, "All-Star weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world."
As important as the decision is for the state, it's a wise one for the league. After the NBA withdrew the game this year, the only one hurting was basketball itself. Ticket sales for the game (which was moved to New Orleans) were in the basement, analysts said. On the eve of the event, the cheapest seats at Smoothie King Center in Louisiana were $184 -- a 71 percent decrease from last year in Toronto, where fans were shelling out $644 to sit in the rafters.
Overall, Fox Business tracked, tickets to this year's game sold for an average of $1,007 on TicketIQ -- an enormous drop from 2016, when "the average resale price for the stood at more than $2,000." Even sales for favorites like the Slam Dunk contest and Three-Point contest were a bargain -- costing half as much as last year.
And here's the irony: most Americans are fans of the policies these commissioners were protesting! By large margins, people support the idea that men and women should use the restrooms, changing rooms, and showers that correspond with their gender! The NBA's announcement was especially sweet considering the pressure LGBT activists were putting on the league to leave the state permanently. "We're not willing to subjugate our moral values or philosophy just for the sake of getting another sporting event," one state official said. "We all love the NCAA, the NBA, but we have priorities." Fortunately, they didn't have to sacrifice either in its quest to accept nothing less but safety for its people and freedom for its employers.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.