2016 NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND - TORONTO
On September 30, 2013 (just a few days later than the 2015 NBA All-Star) NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Canada’s largest city is going to host the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend. The NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, February 14.
Toronto is one of six NBA cities — along with Brooklyn, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Portland and Sacramento — to have never hosted the game. This is the first time that the league’s midseason exhibition will be held outside of the United States. Toronto was the site for the first NBA game when the New York Knickerbockers played the Toronto Huskies on Nov. 1, 1946. The Huskies disbanded the following summer.
Tim Leiweke, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
president and CEO, made it clear upon taking over the company that landing
the prestigious event was one of his early goals.
“Clearly the 2016 all-star game is a flag in the sand that we planted with the NBA. It is a must-have in my opinion and it will be the centerpiece of how we rebrand this,” Leiweke said in May.
He also has said that Raptors fans “deserve a little bit of positive news.”
Leiweke was hired by MLSE — the company that oversees the Raptors, the NHL’s Maple Leafs and MLS’ Toronto FC — in April. The Globe and Mail reported in May that Leiweke’s goal is to execute a rebranding effort that makes the Raptors appeal to all of Canada, in addition to Toronto. That effort included a bid for the 2016 All-Star Game as well as the possibility of a franchise name change and new uniforms.
Lieweke estimated that an NBA All-Star Game usually generates about $100 million for the host city. But he predicted Toronto will eclipse that, saying he and rap star Drake (Raptors Global Ambassador) have been discussing making the festivities about more than basketball and music. The Ontario government has pitched in $500,000 to help the Toronto Raptors host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. The company says it asked for the money because it felt the event qualified for funding under the province's program to boost tourism.
MLSE began the bidding process last February and Cleveland was considered the other serious contender for the event, which will be held in New Orleans this season.
NBA All-Star Jam Session 2016, the NBA's premier fan event, will be held at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place.
Toronto held Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game in 2008, the National Hockey League’s All-Star Game in 2000 (in the Air Canada Center) and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 1991.