Portland Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan and Oregon Sports Authority Chief Executive Officer Drew Mahalic will meet next week and one of the main topics they'll be discussing will be what needs to be done in order to bring NBA All-Star Weekend to the city of Portland.
These two key prominent figures coming together is certainly a step in the right direction and if they are able to come up with the right proposal, both have expressed the desire to place a bid to host NBA All-Star Weekend in the year 2017.
“The year 2017 would be the ideal year for us,” Mahalic told CSNNW.com. “We're capable right now. If there was a chance that we could get it earlier, we would be able to ramp things up and get our local partners together to make it happen.”
The city of New Orleans will host the event in 2014 followed by Brooklyn or New York in 2015. Toronto and Cleveland appear to have the upper hand in 2016. If Portland is ever going to get their shot, 2017 seems to be the city's best chance.
“We've just begun the process to see what the requirements are and we're also looking into event space,” McGowan told CSNNW.com. “Considering what Adam Silver said during All-Star Weekend, if there is an opportunity for us to bid for 2017, then we'll make the NBA aware of our intentions to do so.”
Adam Silver, the NBA Deputy Commissioner, told CSNNW.com during All-Star Weekend in Houston that there was mutual interest from the league and Trail Blazers to have Portland host All-Star Weekend.
Silver acknowledged that hotel accommodations remained a concern, but added that he would investigate further.
Mahalic doesn't find that to be an issue. In fact, he went as far as to say there's plenty of hotel space in the downtown and Lloyd Center area to suffice the masses that travel for this event.
“The Portland hotel industry is very strong,” he said. “In 2001, the last time we put in a bid, I don't think the city was fortified the way we are today. The town is more than capable of hosting it today. We've made great improvements in the last 12 years. Now we got over 22,000 rooms in Portland alone to accommodate an event of that size. We're equipped.”
2012 Portland Mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith says the city is well deserving of the event and thinks the proposal should focus on the uniqueness that Portland has to offer.
“We should use our distinction as a strength rather than a weakness,” Smith said. “Building a huge convention center hotel probably wouldn't make sense just so we could host All-Star Weekend. I do believe we have what it takes in the hotel industry to house everyone that travels to All-Star Weekend.
“We have a really nice arena and the location of Veterans Memorial Coliseum is perfect for other NBA related activities (such as NBA Fan Fest). The idea needs to be our uniqueness.”
And we must not forget about the economic boost All-Star Weekend would bring to the city ranging anywhere from 90-100 million, it is estimated. The wheels are beginning to turn and hopefully everything will start to fall in place to make this dream a reality.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales declined comment on the matter.
The Oregon Sports Authority is a non-profit organization created to enhance the state's economy by attracting sporting events and franchises.