HOUSTON: Quicken Loans Arena could soon receive a facelift — starting at the top.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants to replace the scoreboard inside the Q with a larger, high-definition model similar to the massive 25-foot by 58-foot Panasonic scoreboard inside the Toyota Center that was on display during All-Star weekend.
Houston’s scoreboard is the largest high-definition viewing screen in a North America arena and is considered perhaps a rebuttal to the 72-foot by 160-foot scoreboard down the road in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
Gilbert said he’d like to have a new scoreboard in place “hopefully in the next year or two.” It’s one of a number of changes he envisions coming to the arena, both inside and outside. With his new casino just steps away from the Q, Gilbert has visions of reworking the adjacent streets and giving the area a feeling similar to Times Square in New York City.
The entire Toyota Center project, which included upgraded Wi-Fi, a new control room to run the video screen and game presentation upgrades, cost about $15 million.
The scoreboard could help the Cavs’ chances of landing a future All-Star game. Gilbert said this weekend his goal is to bring the game to Cleveland in either 2016 or 2017.
Ski Austin, the NBA’s executive vice president of events, told Forbes this weekend that the Toyota Center scoreboard played at least a small role in Houston winning the bid for this year’s game. But more importantly, in order for the Cavaliers to host a future All-Star game, the city of Cleveland will likely need somewhere around 6,000 hotel rooms.
“Teams go into their market and aggregate the various resources we need. A lot of what we ask the teams to do is gather the vendors we need, from the convention center, the arena and somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 hotel rooms,” Austin told Forbes. “Each market has a different way of putting these things together. We then look at the bids that are the most viable and go with that.”
Houston was selected this year in part because it has three major hotels near the arena, including one attached to a convention center, which housed the enormous NBA Jam Session this weekend.
After 30 years of All-Star games, NBA Commissioner David Stern had plenty of memories from which to choose. But he never hesitated in selecting the 1992 game as his favorite moment and awarding Magic Johnson the MVP trophy after Johnson had to retire because he contracted HIV. This is Stern’s final All-Star game as commissioner. He will step down Feb. 1, 2014.
“Giving sweaty Magic Johnson a big hug right after he hit the last three and still being able to hug him, because he’s alive every time I see him, that is at the top of the list,” Stern said. “And it will not easily be dislodged. Even though I do enjoy every All Star, that one will resonate for the rest of my life.”
Stern said a close second on his list was the 1997 All-Star game in Cleveland, when the league assembled the 50 greatest players of all time.
Stern said the sentiment among the league’s owners is they want time to assess the new collective bargaining agreement before moving toward more expansion.
With viable markets in both Sacramento and Seattle, new arena deals likely for both cities and the Kings franchise caught in between, expansion would seem to make sense. But Stern said it’s more of an economic matter.
“At least the way we’ve done it to date, (the 30 existing owners) get a lot of money and in return for that you cut the new team in for a large and growing source of revenue from national TV, national licensing, and all things international and digital,” Stern said. “And then it doesn’t really seem to make that much additional sense” because of issues such as basketball-related income (BRI) and increased player costs.
Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who will take over for Stern next February, disagree on the impact of expansion diluting the talent pool. Silver believes trying to locate 15 more NBA-caliber players might dilute the league too much, while Stern believes the 30 NBA players from Africa over the last 20 years is just one example of the game’s untapped potential worldwide.
“(Expansion) has to be parsed and analyzed, but right now given that we’ve just come through an intriguing collective bargaining negotiation and coupled it with specific revenue sharing, over $200 million, I think the sentiment is to let it all settle and assess how we are doing and what the projections are for how we’ll do.”
Stats junkies rejoice
The NBA used All-Star weekend to unveil its remarkable statistical pages at www.NBA.com/stats. It is free to all fans and opens the league’s entire official statistics history that was previously available only to NBA team personnel.
Included on the pages are every NBA box scores from every game played since the inaugural 1946-47 season, advanced shooting charts that illustrate players’ hot spots, top lineup combinations for every team over the last six seasons, in-depth statistical breakdowns and player pages for every NBA player.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.