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Charlotte businesses could see sales boost from 2017 NBA All-Star Game

Charlotte businesses can expect to benefit from the 2017 NBA All-Star Game to be hosted at Time Warner Cable Arena, experts say.

A formal announcement of Charlotte winning the host bid is expected on Tuesday during a news conference with the representatives from the City of Charlotte, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the Charlotte Hornets.

Tourists will boost revenues of local restaurants, hotels and shops. Other businesses will also benefit from the global exposure, as well as the celebrities and high-level corporate executives that the sport event typically draws, said Greg Busch, a Charlotte-based veteran sports marketer.

“Everybody in the region has a chance to win,” he said.

Hotel managers say the game’s mid-February timing will help boost occupancy during one of the slower months of the year.

“We are excited that the NBA has chosen our city as home to one of its largest events of the year,” said Crissy Wright, general manager of Marriott City Center.

City leaders have had an eye toward landing the All-Star Game. In September, the city council approved spending $33.5 million over 10 years on arena upgrades seen as key to landing the bid.

More than 1,900 new hotel rooms are either under construction or planned, which will add to the city’s current 4,600 rooms. In the Charlotte region, a total of 30,000 rooms are available, according to Sid Smith, executive director of Charlotte Area Hotel Association.

The arena has 19,077 seats, but more fans are expected to flock into Charlotte for various events during the All-Star weekend. People “just want to be where actions happen,” Busch said.

Guests on that weekend might not only occupy city center rooms, but also those in South End, Ballantyne, Rock Hill, even Concord and Kannapolis, Smith said.

Those visitors mean more spending at local businesses.

When Orlando hosted the 2012 game, Orange County, Florida, saw an economic impact from the weekend event of more than $95 million, according to Strategic marketing Services and SportsEconomics LLC.

The 2014 game generated $106 million for New Orleans businesses, University of New Orleans’ Hospitality Research Center found.

Charlotte could gain even more, Busch said, considering the event's growing global audience and the fact that Charlotte might not have as much recognition as some of the other markets, which "gives it a higher ceiling of opportunity."

In addition to economic impact, the All-Star event will bring corporate executives to town, Busch said, who could be potential investors for local businesses.

As Charlotte prepares to be under the global spot light, shops and restaurants are getting ready to showcase their brands as well.

“I got the news today and I am going to get together with my managers, because we will want to invest in that,” said Aline Decker, marketing manager of Chima Brazilian Steakhouse on South Tryon Street.

Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, is glad that the non-profit’s efforts to build a more vibrant city center has borne fruit.

"This is...exciting news for Charlotte, a unique opportunity and consistent with the events that we are very prepared to host," said Michael Smith.

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