Despite flirting with the idea last season, the Cavaliers did not bid on the 2016 All-Star game, which was instead awarded to Toronto this week. The team remains interested in bringing the game back to Cleveland, however, and could eventually submit a proposal for either the 2017 or 2018 game.
Adam Silver, who takes over as NBA commissioner in four months, visited Cleveland in February to explore the feasibility of returning the game here for the first time since 1997. Silver left impressed and encouraged the team to submit a proposal for a future game.
“We had a great experience when we were there in ’97,” Silver said at last season’s All-Star weekend in Houston. “We would love to return to Cleveland.”
At that time, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert told the Beacon Journal he was eager to do so, but not before the city was ready.
All-Star weekend has changed dramatically since it was last in Cleveland and the league now requires about 6,000 hotel rooms to host the event. Not all of them need to be downtown because the league has complex parameters within that figure, meaning a certain amount of rooms need to be within a certain distance to the arena. More hotels can be a little farther away.
Whether or not Cleveland has enough hotel space to support the event has been a long-running debate, but the opening of the new Aloft hotel in the Flats and ideas for more hotels, such as a massive 650-room hotel attached to the new convention center, would certainly help Cleveland’s chances.
One reason Houston won the bid for last season’s All-Star game, according to this Forbes article, was due to three major hotels close to the arena, including one attached to its convention center.
Gilbert said in February he wanted to have the second phase of his casino open before bringing in the All-Star game. Likewise, there are multiple ongoing revitalization projects downtown that the team would like completed before the eyes of basketball are on the city.
The league awarded the 2015 game to New York only a few days before giving the ’16 game to Toronto. Next year’s All-Star game will be held in New Orleans.