Transgender Bill Could Cost San Antonio $234 Million, Says Study of Final Four

A study for the city of San Antonio predicted that the 2018 Final Four would bring nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in spending to the city, a talking point sure to be raised as debate continues over a proposed Texas law seen by some as discriminatory to transgender people.

A similar law in North Carolina prompted the N.C.A.A. and the N.B.A. to pull events from that state.

According to a memo obtained Friday by The New York Times and verified by a spokeswoman for the local organizing committee, next year’s Final Four would lead to $135 million in direct spending and a total economic impact, accounting for money spent by tens of thousands of visitors at other businesses, of $234 million.

The study, conducted by the chief economist of the Sabér Research Institute, projected state tax revenue of $9.5 million and municipal tax revenue of $4.4 million stemming from the event.

Earlier this month, Texas officials, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, proposed legislation that would require transgender people to use bathrooms in government buildings and public schools and universities based on their “biological sex,” overriding any local rules to the contrary (potentially including a nondiscrimination ordinance that, the committee spokeswoman noted, San Antonio has). The proposal is known as Senate Bill 6.

Jeff Coyle, San Antonio’s director of government and public affairs, declined to comment on the specifics of the bill. “What it all comes down to,” he said, “is the message we send to the rest of the country as a state: Are we welcoming, are we open for business, or are we restrictive?”

The N.C.A.A. has not commented on the Texas bill.

The bill strikes many observers as similar to the North Carolina law that prompted the N.C.A.A. to move championship events out of the state, including games in the early rounds of the Division I men’s basketball tournament. The N.B.A. moved its All-Star Game, and the Atlantic Coast Conference moved its football championship game in response to the law.

Many of North Carolina’s business interests opposed the law, citing economic downsides. The Texas Association of Business has also opposed the bill, in addition to several groups that represent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The Texas bill appears to have an exemption for venues “privately leased to an outside entity,” which could include a situation such as Houston’s NRG Stadium, which is set to host the Super Bowl early next month (likely before the bill would actually be made law), or the Alamodome come March 2018.

It is not clear how such an exemption would affect hotels or restaurants accounted for in the economic impact report. It is also unclear how the N.C.A.A. would assess it. Currently the association quizzes prospective host sites over their abilities to cultivate nondiscriminatory atmospheres.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/sports/ncaabasketball/texas-transgender-bill-final-four-san-antonio.html?_r=0

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