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All-Star Game on more familiar ground in Phoenix

[Source: John Lombardo, Sports Business Journal] — The NBA will gather this week in Phoenix for its All-Star Weekend with a return to normalcy.  After two nontraditional All-Star Weekends, the frenzy surrounding the 2007 game in Las Vegas and the uncertainty of the post-Katrina New Orleans site last season, this year’s event will bring a more familiar feel.  “Las Vegas was a city that didn’t have a NBA team and it had its own challenges, and last year, we didn’t quite know what to expect,” said Rick Welts, president of the Phoenix Suns, this year’s host of the NBA’s biggest event.  “But given our 40-year history of NBA basketball, there is a certain amount of comfort.”  Phoenix previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1995.

There will be an increase in league-run events in Phoenix with the addition of a downtown All-Star Block Party and a new NBA Cares and Cooks fundraising event to go along with the usual All-Star entertainment staples like the league-sponsored bash following All-Star Saturday Night, the Legends Brunch, and a welcoming party for invited guests that this year will be at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix.  But this year’s weekend has its own challenges coming amid the recession, so while there may be more NBA-sponsored events, corporate hospitality is down compared with other years.  “We are down about 25 percent in revenue for corporations that travel to the event this year compared to last year,” said Robert Tuchman, president of Premier Corporate Events, which books corporate entertainment packages at major sporting events.  “The economy is definitely having an impact and we also saw it at the Super Bowl. Also, the last two All-Star games were held in locations that are destinations unto themselves. The NBA is a good product, but there is nothing like Las Vegas and New Orleans.”

Another notable difference this year is the level of public service compared with the widely applauded NBA community service effort that marked last year’s weekend in New Orleans, where the league, its players and its corporate partners participated in the All-Star Day of Service on the Friday of All-Star Weekend.  This year, the league is continuing its service day, but it is a scaled-down effort compared with the greater needs in New Orleans.  There will be three league-sponsored community service projects in Phoenix compared with about 10 last year.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Join Phoenix mayor & Suns CEO to chat about downtown, Dec. 2

In the midst of challenging economic times and declining citywide tax revenues, restaurants, bars, hotels, motels, and other retail establishments are showing positive revenue growth in downtown Phoenix.  Join Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Phoenix Suns CEO Rick Welts to hear about the NBA All Star Week coming up in February 2009.  Also, have your questions answered about other downtown Phoenix activities.

  • Date: December 2, 2008
  • Time: 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Place: US Airways Center Toyota Club (inside the arena), 201 E. Jefferson St.

Parking is available at the US Airways Center garage just south of Jefferson on 1st St.  Click here to RSVP.