The future of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in downtown Indianapolis is in doubt. Our partners at WISH-TV report the NBA has canceled its hotel contracts for the weekend of the event, saying the game is “unlikely to take place on Presidents’ Day weekend.”
A spokesperson for the league told WISH-TV’s Anthony Calhoun the decision was made “given the uncertainty surrounding the schedule for the 2020-2021 NBA season.”
The NBA had to adjust the schedule for the 2019-2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA Playoffs kicked off Monday.
“We and the Indiana Pacers informed our hotel partners in Indianapolis that NBA All-Star 2021 is unlikely to take place on Presidents’ Day Weekend so they could make other arrangements,” the spokesperson said. “More information about next season’s schedule, including NBA All-Star, will be announced at a later date.”
Rick Fuson, president and chief operating officer for Pacers Sports and Entertainment Inc., issued the following statement as well:
“We have been working with the NBA since 2017 to bring our fans and our city this world-class event, just as we did when we last hosted in 1985. While it appears All Star 2021 is unlikely to happen on Presidents’ Day weekend, we are excited about continuing to collaborate with the NBA as we look to the future.”
Inside INdiana Business contributor Bill Benner said he is “disappointed, but not surprised” by the decision.
“The good news is that Indiana is such a sports-centric city, but the bad news is we are such a sports-centric city,” said Benner. “But I’m certainly hopeful…that Indianapolis will be in line for a future NBA All-Star Game sooner rather than later.”
The NBA would not specify whether the All-Star Game would be canceled or simply postponed.
The move is the latest in a series of cancellations due to the pandemic, including last season’s NCAA Men’s Midwest Regional Tournament and the conclusion of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball tournament in Indianapolis earlier this year.
Several conferences have also postponed their fall sports seasons, including the Big Ten and the Mid American Conference.
Benner says the decision was not particularly unexpected.