Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte will get NBA All-Star game after arena upgrades

Now that the Charlotte Hornets and the city of Charlotte have agreed to an arena renovation, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said it’s inevitable Charlotte will get an All-Star Game.

“Personally I’m very excited about coming back here. I don’t think there’s any question it’s going to happen,” Silver said during a visit to Charlotte on Wednesday. “Just a matter of what year.”

The first available All-Star Game up for bid is in 2017. In all likelihood the 2017 and 2018 events will be awarded simultaneously. Silver said there’s no set date for when those games will be awarded, but he’d like it to be as soon as possible.

“We want to award them as early as possible so there would be maximum opportunity to plan,” Silver said.

“I met here with (Hornets president) Fred Whitfield and (team owner) Michael Jordan earlier this afternoon to discuss precisely this, among other issues. It’s a matter of what’s precisely the timetable now for the renovations to the building.”

The city agreed to pay for $33.5 million toward what would be more than $40 million in renovations and upgrades to Time Warner Cable Arena. The league would want most, if not all, of those renovations completed before an All-Star Weekend is staged here.

Hornets and city officials went to New York in August to formally make a bid for a future All-Star Game. In September, the City Council voted 9-2 to approve use of public money to renovate restaurants and bathrooms, add lower-bowl seating, improve lighting and replace the scoreboard. Most of those renovations were in keeping with the original contract the city signed with the NBA to get the then-expansion Charlotte Bobcats.

First-year commissioner Silver had said repeatedly during visits to Charlotte that ironing out how to pay for these renovations would greatly enhance the city’s chances of landing an All-Star Weekend.

When Houston hosted the All-Star Weekend in 2013, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated a direct economic impact of $60 million and an overall economic impact of slightly less than $100 million. The All-Star Weekend will fill uptown hotel rooms for four or more nights, much as the Democratic National Convention did when it was staged in Time Warner Cable Arena in 2012.

The NBA All-Star Weekend has been in Charlotte once before. The now-demolishedCharlotte Coliseum hosted the event in 1991.

New York will host the 2015 All-Star Weekend in a joint project by the Knicks and Nets. The 2016 All-Star Weekend is in Toronto.

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