After pulling the game out of Charlotte because of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the ACC has selected Orlando’s Camping World Stadium for its 2016 football championship.
The December 3 ACC Championship Game was initially slated to be played at Bank of America Stadium, the home of the Carolina Panthers, which had hosted the contest since 2010. However the ACC opted to move all of its championship matches, including football, out of North Carolina over House Bill 2.
First put into law this spring, House Bill 2 has been criticized by its detractors as being one of the nation’s most stringent laws against the LGBT community. The bill, among other provisions, requires transgendered people to use public restrooms that correspond to their birth certificate rather than their gender identity and prevents municipalities from passing their own protection laws.
Over the summer governor Pat McCrory modified some of the law’s provisions, but many groups and organizations–including the NBA, which pulled its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte–felt that McCrory should have done more. The ACC is now joining the NBA among the sports leagues and conferences to take an action as a direct result of the law.
Given that the ACC Championship Game was just removed from Charlotte this month, a quick turnaround time in finding a new home was to be expected. As it was, Camping World Stadium and Orlando offered their own connections to the conference. More from the Orlando Sentinel:
Details were scarce about the process by which the ACC selected its new title-game location, with Commissioner John Swofford saying in announcing the move from North Carolina that the league had reached out “in a small way” to potential hosts but acknowledging there were “probably limited possibilities” without identifying them.
Orlando immediately emerged as an obvious choice.
The city annually hosts two bowl games with ACC ties — the Citrus and Russell Athletic bowls have agreements to take its teams — and this year an opening game between Mississippi and Florida State was played at the 65,000-seat stadium formerly known as the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The only problem was, the Florida High School Athletic Association had booked Orlando’s stadium for some of its championships that weekend, but the FHSAA announced it would push those back until the following weekend to free up the venue for the ACC. Orlando has played host to the high school championships since 2007.
Image courtesy of Camping World Stadium.