St. Louis Sports Commission working to pick-up NCAA championship games pulled from North Carolina

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - St. Louis Sports Commission President Frank Viverito says the work to pick up one of the NCAA championship games pulled out of North Carolina this athletic year has already started.

"We’ve already been in contact with the NCAA to let them know that if we can host an event that would help them place an event here we would be delighted to do that" Viverito said.

"It provides economic development through visitor spending, it provides positive media exposure and adds to a positive image" Viverito added.  "It gives St. Louis sports fans the chance to come out and watch something fun, it inspires kids, it’s focuses on so many positives that can be a benefit to St. Louis" he said.

The NCAA Board of Governor's announced Monday night they were pulling the games, citing the laws in the state.  Many of which come from the controversial House Bill 2, which allows for the discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgender people.

A similar law in Missouri- Senate Judicial Resolution 39- failed to pass out of a house committee in April.  Viverito says this makes places like St. Louis and Kansas City contenders for the NCAA.

"It positions us as a place overall that is welcoming to visitors and sporting events alike" Viverito said.

The seven championship games up for grabs range from women's soccer, lacrosse and golf, to the NCAA's biggest tournament, men's basketball.  St. Louis sports fans are excited for the possibility of an added championship game in the gateway city.

"That fills up hotels, that fills up everything" said sports fan Doug Kulage.  "It just brings all kinds of business.  People go to the casinos, bars and spend a lot of money and contribute to St. Louis.

"We need the income here.  We need the tourism that would be awesome" said another sports fan, Brian Pegg.

Still, some other say there should be a fine line between sports and politics.