Charlotte wants to be the new home of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Driving the news: The ACC is in the midst of a “comprehensive review” to determine whether to move its headquarters from Greensboro. It’s hired an independent consultant, Newmark, to facilitate the search.
- Naturally, Charlotte comes up early in conversations about where the next host city should be.
Why it matters: While the ACC is hardly a guarantee, Charlotte’s on a run of landing headquarters. In recent years, the city’s drawn major names like Truist, Honeywell, Krispy Kreme, Dentsply Sirona and Dole plc.
- In cities like this, companies with local headquarters help propel the local economy.
What’s more, landing the ACC would cement Charlotte as a premier college sports town. The city’s already is the home of ESPN offices down in Ballantyne, which operate the SEC Network. And each year, Charlotte hosts major college games like the ACC Championship football game.
“We welcome the opportunity to showcase why Mecklenburg County would be the perfect home for the ACC,” said Peter Zeiler, the county’s economic development director.
Charlotte Sports Foundation is involved in the discussions, executive director Danny Morrison confirmed. CSF is the organization behind the Duke’s Mayo Bowl and other large-scale events.
- Over the summer, for instance, the group signed a three-year deal with Jordan Brand for Charlotte to host a major men’s and women’s college basketball tournament called the Jumpman Invitational next December.
“We certainly feel like we meet all the criteria and there’s work going on to present the best case for Charlotte,” Morrison told Axios.
Last month, ACC officials laid out a set of criteria for the new HQ that may as well have been written by Charlotte city boosters:
- Located within the Eastern Time Zone
- Population size with positive growth trends
- Growth and diversity of population
- Access to a large hub airport with effective accessibility to and from all ACC member schools
- Anticipated benefit to the overall ACC brand and potential synergies to existing and prospective partners
- Financial considerations related to operational expenses
“The criteria fit Charlotte like a glove. I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” city councilman Larken Egleston tells Axios Charlotte.
Zoom out: The ACC has had its headquarters in Greensboro since the conference’s inception in 1953. Today, the headquarters are in a 20,000-square-foot facility near Grandover Resort. There, it has just over 40 employees.
It remains to be seen what the conference will have at a new headquarters. It could be modest offices — or it could be a sleek new facility with high-end amenities and fan attractions.
- The Pac-12, long headquartered in an unpretentious facility in Walnut Creek, California, moved its headquarters in 2014 to San Francisco.
- There it occupies more than 100,000 square feet of space in the most expensive footprint in the country, as The Oregonian reported. Conference executives wanted proximity to the area’s tech talent.
Charlotte’s not the only North Carolina city angling for the headquarters.
Local boosters want it in Raleigh, too. They point to the fact that the area is home to major ACC members: UNC Chapel Hill, Duke and NC State, as WRAL reported.
“There is hardly another place on the planet that has what we have going for it like the Raleigh-Durham market,” Raleigh-area sports exec Hill Carrow told the station.
Egleston, the city councilman, said he doesn’t want North Carolina to lose the ACC headquarters to a place like New York, Atlanta or Florida.
- He also doesn’t want anyone in the Triad to think Charlotte took anything away from them, should the ACC decide to relocate here.
- City spokesman Cory Burkarth similarly said that Charlotte isn’t looking to compete with other cities in North Carolina.
“If the ACC decides to leave Greensboro then we believe the best place to relocate to is the city of Charlotte,” he said.