Lost in the news that New Orleans has been awarded the 2017 NBA All-Star Game
is the significance of the game's date, Sun. Feb. 19, 2017 — which also happens to be the first Sunday of major Mardi Gras parades on St. Charles Avenue, with the krewes of Femme Fatale, Carrollton, King Arthur and Alla rolling one after another. Those parades, of course, come within blocks of the Smoothie King Center, where the All-Star Game will be played.
Unlike 2013, however, when the city of New Orleans moved the first weekend of parades up a week earlier to accommodate crowds for Super Bowl XLVII, the parade dates and route largely are set and will not be changed to any great degree, according to Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"It's going to be one of the most interesting and complicated weekends we've ever had," Perry said. "In addition to the All-Star Game, we have two citywide conventions that weekend, we have a lot of corporate meetings and associations in hotels, and, of course, Mardi Gras. We're going to have a sold-out city."
Perry said the NBA was guaranteed 6,000 hotel rooms on what already was a traditionally busy weekend. (A spot check of Hotels.com revealed already-sold-out rooms all over the city, with small French Quarter hotels like the Hotel Ste. Marie and the Hotel St. Pierre offering rooms for more than $300 per night for the weekend.) "It's going to take what is normally a good weekend and make it into a great weekend," Perry added, saying the confluence of events would involve "the utilization of virtually every venue" in the city.
Asked for comment, C. Hayne Rainey, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu, told Gambit
, "We anticipate the All-Star Game events having a minimal impact on Mardi Gras parades and all All-Star events will occur at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center."
Perry seconded that, saying that events that normally would be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center would instead be held at the Superdome and Champions Square, eliminating the need for attendees to cross St. Charles Avenue. He also said that Gov. John Bel Edwards and Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police had committed the usual aid to the city that occurs on big weekends, though it "will ramp up earlier than normal" due to the All-Star Game.
"The reality is there's going to be some logistical things to work out," Perry said, noting that New Orleans put together a bid for the game in a three-week window following the NBA's decision to move the game out of Charlotte, North Carolina due to that state's new House Bill 2, which has been criticized as a piece of anti-LGBT legislation. It is the third All-Star Game to be played in New Orleans in 10 years.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Perry said, adding that there is a possibility that krewes will roll earlier than usual that Sunday in order to keep downtown congestion to a minimum.
NEW YORK — New Orleans has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017, the NBA announced today. The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Smoothie King Center — home of the New Orleans Pelicans. The game was previously scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C.
In addition to the game, the Smoothie King Center will host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18 while the NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This will mark the third time the "Crescent City" has been the site of the league's annual midseason celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.
"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. As we know, the NBA will engage thousands of local children and charities during this weekend. On behalf of my wife Gayle and the entire Pelicans organization, we thank Governor Edwards, Mayor Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMG, and all of the others that worked so hard in a short amount of time to bring the All-Star Game to New Orleans."
In addition, 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 the New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.
NBA All-Star oncourt festivities tip off Friday, Feb. 17, with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, where the league's top rookies and second-year players will compete in a U.S. versus World game format for the third consecutive year. On Saturday, Feb. 18, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature current NBA players showcasing their unique abilities in exciting basketball competitions, including 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. The weekend concludes on Sunday, Feb. 19, with the NBA All-Star Game.
"Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are," said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. "In Louisiana, one of the strongest bonds that unites all of us is our passion for sports. Not only will NBA fans be able to participate in the All-Star Game events, they will also be a part of our world-famous Mardi Gras festivities. The fan experience can't get any better than that. While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote of confidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway. I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and the Pelicans for working in short order to make this all possible."
"The NBA has been a great partner, so we are excited and honor
ed to be selected to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "Together with the staff of the GNO Sports Foundation and the hospitality industry, the dedicated members of the New Orleans police, fire, EMS, airport, permitting and sanitation departments, among others, make these major events possible. The combination of NBA All-Star with the first weekend of Mardi Gras will provide our residents, visitors and NBA fans an even more special experience. Having served as Lieutenant Governor and Mayor for the two prior NBA All-Star Games held in New Orleans, I also know the NBA is committed to giving back to our community and providing great learning experiences for our kids. The NBA and the Players Association's generous donations to organizations responding to the devastating flooding across Louisiana is a testament to their commitment to the people of our state."
"The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation is honored to partner with Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans as the All-Star Host Committee for an unprecedented third time in the past 10 years," said President/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero. "The strong relationships with our sports, governmental and hospitality communities allowed for a customary eight-month bid process to be compressed into a mere three weeks. The 2014 All-Star Game generated over $100 million in economic impact for the State of Louisiana and the greater New Orleans area. It's a thrill to welcome our NBA partners back to New Orleans."
"The NBA and New Orleans have a history of producing world-class sporting events, having most recently hosted the All-Star Game in 2014. When we learned that we had an opportunity to host next year's NBA All-Star Game, we went straight to work to lay the groundwork for 2017," said President and CEO of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Stephen Perry. "Our tourism industry is second-to-none at planning and accommodating massive events like this. Within three weeks, we were able to ensure the NBA that all the pieces were in place to make the 2017 NBA All-Star Game an unforgettable experience that will combine our world famous Mardi Gras with all the excitement that the NBA All-Star Game delivers."
The NBA will continue to honor its commitment to social responsibility during All-Star 2017 with a full schedule of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA events in and around New Orleans throughout the week. By working with local schools, government agencies and nonprofits, the NBA will engage thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.
The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports' 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage. The game will be broadcast worldwide in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.