The president of the Indiana Sports Corp. says today’s delivery of Indy’s bid for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game is part of an effort aimed at sending a message to the league. Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird will deliver the bid package to NBA headquarters in New York City, with the help of a specially-themed IndyCar. "The NBA All-Star Game is one of the top ten premier sports-related properties in the country," said ISC President Ryan Vaughn in an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, "and we want to let the NBA know that we are very, very serious about the opportunity to host their All-Star game." Vaughn says the economic impact from the game and related activities could top $100 million.
Vaughn says much has changed around the NBA All-Star game since it was last in Indianapolis, in 1985.
The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Sports Corp., Visit Indy, among others, have been working almost daily for the past four months on a bid for the 2021 game, which organizers say could attract 80,000 visitors to the city.
Vaughn says it also presents an extraordinary opportunity to showcase Indianapolis, with more than 3,000 media members from around the globe expected to be credentialed for the game.
The city has blocked out 7,000 hotel rooms out for the event, but Vaughn says a successful bid could also serve as a catalyst for new hotel rooms, much like how the 2012 Super Bowl sparked construction of the downtown JW Marriott. "We could look to leverage a moment like the NBA All-Star Game to grow our capacity downtown," said Vaughn.
Vaughn says local organizers believe "about half of the league expressed interest in hosting these games," although competing cities won’t be known until after today’s deadline for submitting bids.
This story will be updated.
Watch the entire Ryan Vaughn interview: