NOLA wins the NBA All-Star Game bid
In a planning process that typically takes place over the course of a year, NOLA entities were able to create and win a bid in less than a month to secure the NBA All-Star Game slated for February 2017.
Originally planned for Charlotte, North Carolina, the league started to look at relocating the game and its weekend of events after the state passed the HB2 law, which removed protections from the LGBT community. NOLA became a real possibility for a new location at that point, having hosted the All-Star Weekend in 2008 and 2014, as well as benefiting from an executive order Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed in April that prohibits discrimination of public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
When speaking in August before the bid was secured, Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) described his team’s work and said, “We are doing four years of work in a week in terms of special event negotiations, the leg work and all the things you have to do… our convention sales team is working around the clock trying to put together all of the accommodations, venues and details to determine if we can host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game seven months from now.”
The determination was made and the NBA was happy with the results of the work of NOCVB, as well as that of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, city and state officials, the Pelicans and Saints, and law enforcement.
“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game.”
“We are grateful that the NBA has selected us to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans,” said New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson. “We have made tremendous upgrades to the Smoothie King Center and know the building will be a first-class venue to host the myriad of events associated with All-Star weekend. New Orleans has hosted the All-Star Game twice in the past nine years, and is a perfect destination for NBA fans.”
The All-Star Weekend is much more than a single game on Feb. 19. The Smoothie King Center will also host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 18. The NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. There are also philanthropic components to the weekend.
The NBA has a commitment to social responsibility and has planned a full schedule of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA events in and around New Orleans throughout the week. The NBA works with local schools, government agencies and nonprofits to engage thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.
Additionally, in the wake of the devastating floods that have affected tens of thousands of Louisiana residents, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have joined the Pelicans and New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.
Winning the bid for the NBA All-Star Game is a major victory for the tourism and hospitality industry of New Orleans, and is sure to help future efforts for similar events.