The process of staging the NBA’s all-star weekend is elaborate and time-consuming and it’s impossible for things to happen without a huge amount of lead time.
Three years in the case of Toronto.
According to several sources, Maple Leaf Sports and the Raptors have already begun the process of submitting an official bid to host the 2016 all-star game to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the franchise and to bring one of the league’s most popular events to an international venue for the first time ever.
People with knowledge of the hospitality industry in Toronto say league officials have already been in the city making inquiries about hotel availability and convention space.
League sources said there have been no other expressions of interest yet in the 2016 event; the 2014 weekend is scheduled for New Orleans and NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said here Saturday night that either Brooklyn or New York are odds-on favourites to host the 2015 game.
“There are two (2015) applications in, one from Brooklyn and one from the Garden,” said commissioner David Stern.
The league accepts bids for all-star games from cities interested in hosting them that include specifics on hotel and convention space and arena modifications needed to stage the event. The league does not solicit bids from specific cities.
“We don’t consider anything in a vacuum,” said Stern. “We announce that bids are open for future all-star games.”
The Raptors have never bid for the game, often because of a lack of space for the massive NBA Jam Session that’s part of the weekend; that won’t be an issue for 2016, sources said.
For the departing Stern, the event here will be the last he’ll preside over since he is scheduled to retire weeks before the 2014 game.
He said his greatest memory of the past 30 years was awarding the most valuable player trophy to Magic Johnson in 1992, when Johnson returned to basketball months after announcing his retirement after contracting the AIDS virus.
“Giving sweaty Magic Johnson a big hug right after he hit the last three and still being able to hug him, because he’s alive every time I see him, that is at the top of the list,” said Stern. “And it will not easily be dislodged. Even though I do enjoy every all-star game, that one will resonate for the rest of my life.”
Raptors bidding to host 2016 NBA all-star game, sources say
Toronto Star | Feb 18