Full Court Press

NBA All-Star Weekend and the first weekend of Carnival parades combine for economic windfall, global exposure for New Orleans

Two of the things New Orleans is best known for will come together this month for a jam-packed weekend of celebrations that will be televised around the world.

The NBA’s All-Star weekend — the annual mid-February celebration of all things basketball — will be held Feb. 17-19, the first weekend that major Carnival parades will roll across south Louisiana. As a result, the city, along with both state and local businesses will have a global audience resulting in an expected economic windfall of more than $100 million.

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game and related events were originally scheduled to take place in Charlotte, but the NBA pulled its annual All-Star weekend festivities after North Carolina’s Legislature passed House Bill 2, which the league has criticized as a piece of anti-LGBT legislation.

New Orleans put together a bid for the game in a three-week window and was awarded the game in August, just months before it was to be played.

New Orleans was the obvious choice to host All-Star weekend once the NBA decided to pull the event from Charlotte. This will be the third NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans in the past decade, after the Crescent City held the event in 2008 and 2014.

All-Star weekend tips off Friday, Feb. 17, with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, in which the league’s top rookies and second-year players make up teams that compete against players from the rest of the world.

Saturday includes fan favorite events, like the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, where participants compete head-to-head in a series of passing, shooting and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; and Verizon Slam Dunk Contest, as well as All-Star team practices, the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire.

The weekend concludes with the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19. Events will be held at the Smoothie King Center and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Unlike 2013, when the city moved the first weekend of parades up a week to clear the calendar for the massive crowds that came with Super Bowl XLVII, local officials did not alter the parade schedule this year. That should give potential visitors extra incentive to come to New Orleans and enjoy themselves and the abundant revelry.

Before the 2014 All-Star weekend local experts expected an economic impact of $89.6 million, but a University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center study found the event generated $106.1 million, with $60.4 million in direct spending and $45.7 million in secondary spending. Visitors were found to have spent an average of $904 during their stay. That made roughly $4.9 million in tax revenue for the state and $3.2 million in taxes going to New Orleans area governments.

“This type of high-profile event that brings visitors to New Orleans has a lasting effect on future visitation,” said John A. Williams, director of the Hospitality Research Center, as well as its dean of the College of Business Administration, of the NBA’s All-Star event. “Because of media coverage of the events showcasing our great city, it also inspires those who have not visited New Orleans previously. While visitors came from all over the nation to attend, attendees also came from 15 other countries. Events such as this are pivotal as New Orleans seeks to expand its international visitation.”

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT, and will be broadcast worldwide to 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.

Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football.


Categories: The Magazine