Columbia, SC (WLTX) - With more sporting championships moving out of North Carolina, because of the state's “bathroom bill,” Midlands leaders are hoping those games will come here.
"You don't wish ill will on someone else, but because they're moving these games, it gives us a great opportunity to go after them and try to host our own regional," Carl Blackstone with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce said.
Blackstone says North Carolina's loss could be South Carolina's gain in millions of dollars of revenue.
North Carolina's House Bill 2 is a law that requires people to use bathrooms based on their biological sex and prevents cities and counties from passing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Opponents say the law discriminates against the LGBTQ community and has cost the state concerts, business and most recently ACC and NCAA tournaments.
“Great thing is we're able to play the game,” Auvis Cole with the South Carolina Sports Alliance said.
He says our state lost millions of potential revenue because of the past 14 year NCAA ban due to the Confederate flag on the statehouse.
“They get a chance to see it firsthand. I mean some of these events have a chance to be local now and not all over the country and we have some great facilities here between Rock Hill, Greenville, Columbia,” Cole said.
Cole says the state has already put in 80 bids for NCAA tournaments up until 2022. Officials with the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism say 13 of those bids are for right here in the Midlands.
Tourism leaders are hoping to get some of those and some of North Carolina's recent lost tournaments for 2016 and 2017.
“Charlotte [had] one NCAA event two years ago had $11 million impact in the city of Charlotte, 50:58 that's significant dollars and so while city leaders are trying to find ways to pay for different things, this is money in the bag,” Blackstone said.
And leaders say it's also a chance to show what the Midlands has to offer.
“The excitement is about showcasing our city, our community and we've got such great assets here,” Blackstone said.
(© 2016 WLTX)