Under the Dome

Greensboro Coliseum complains of ‘disastrous impact’ from House Bill 2

HB2 protesters march into NC Legislature

RAW VIDEO: Protesters march into the Legislative Building to protest HB2 in Raleigh, NC Monday afternoon, May 16, 2016. At least 12 protesters were arrested.
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RAW VIDEO: Protesters march into the Legislative Building to protest HB2 in Raleigh, NC Monday afternoon, May 16, 2016. At least 12 protesters were arrested.

The board that oversees the Greensboro Coliseum Complex has asked Gov. Pat McCrory to oppose House Bill 2 after canceled performances resulted in a “disastrous impact” to the facility.

The War Memorial Commission wrote a letter to the governor calling on him to “carefully consider the damage HB2 is bringing to Greensboro and the state of North Carolina.” The commission oversees the Triad’s biggest arena, where Bruce Springsteen, the band Boston and Cirque du Soleil had been scheduled to perform. All three acts canceled in an effort to boycott North Carolina over the LGBT law.

“The Greensboro Coliseum Complex and the City of Greensboro are experiencing economic difficulties of unprecedented proportions due to the passage of the bill known as HB2,” the letter says, adding that the facility is “suffering economically from the loss of employment opportunities that a fully utilized complex creates – heads on beds, part-time labor and more.”

Graham Wilson, a spokesman for McCrory, criticized the cancelations in an email Monday afternoon.

“The governor encourages the War Memorial Commission to resist and object to enabling the entertainment and sports community to use state and local policies to interfere with their decision making process in the selection of venues,” Wilson said. “Their selective outrage and political agendas only harm the hardworking men and women who work at the Greensboro Coliseum, and their families and community.”

Raleigh’s PNC Arena has seen similar impacts from canceled shows. Pearl Jam, Cirque du Soleil and Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato all dropped plans to perform at PNC. The arena won’t be getting much use this summer, according to its calendar – after a three-day run of Sesame Street Live in June, no performances are scheduled until a Maroon 5 concert in September.

PNC Arena’s governing board has not made any public statements about HB2. Asked about a cancellation’s impact on the facility, executive director Jeff Merritt said that about 750 to 800 part-time employees work each major performance. And local nonprofits staff some of the arena’s concession stands as a fundraising project.

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