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SC reaps benefits of NCAA games that NC lost because of HB2

NCAA tournament play kicked off Thursday in Greenville, S.C. In September, first- and second-round games were pulled from Greensboro, N.C. because of HB2. (Photo credit: WLOS)

The NCAA Tournament tipped off in Greenville, S.C., on Thursday, and North Carolina was feeling the effects.

The opening weekend games were moved from Greensboro, N.C., to Greenville because of controversial House Bill 2.

"I don't agree with HB2, and so I'm glad that the Tar Heels are playing here and that the tournament is here," Tar Heels fan Lori Taggart said.

Some other fans said they did not care as much about the controversy surrounding the tournament move.

"I don't really get too much involved in all that,” Duke fan Ray Halstead said.

Either way Greensboro's loss was Greenville's financial gain.

Henri Fourrier, president and CEO of Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city was missing out on nearly $14.5 million without the tournament.

The money, instead, went to Greenville hotels like the Hyatt Regency.

"We have had a lot of interest this week," Larry Bell, general manager of Hyatt Regency in Greenville, said.

Also, local restaurants and bars, like City Tavern, were profiting after a 13-year tournament hiatus in South Carolina.

"It's huge, man. It'll be good to kind of show off the city, and that's going to be kind of awesome from what we were 13 years ago versus where we are today,” Doug Hunt, manager at City Tavern, said.

The NCAA decided against holding tournament games in South Carolina as long as the Confederate Flag flew on the state house grounds. The flag was taken down in July 2015.

North Carolina could lose out on the tournament for at least six years, Fourrier said, as long as the bathroom law that prevents transgender people from choosing bathrooms, was in place.

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