Charlotte to see economic boom next week for NBA All-Star game

1 month ago Triangle 0

Written by: Tanner White, sports and entertainment correspondent

The Queen City is buzzing with anticipation for the NBA All-Star Week. The Charlotte Hornets are hosting the big event, held February 15-17, a year after they were originally supposed to.

The Hornets lost their right to host last year due to the controversial HB2 bill. This bill prevented transgenders from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. North Carolina kept the bathroom bill, until Governor Pat McCrory left office. Once his successor, Roy Cooper (D) took office, he changed the bill, allowing transgenders to use whichever bathroom they choose. Charlotte now has a second chance after the league awarded them the rights to this year’s All-Star game.

An estimated 150,000 people will be in Charlotte for the weekend. CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Tom Murray said,“Nearly 30 hotels…with about 32,000 rooms. A lot of other hotels will benefit from overflow, and that impact we expect to be quite significant.”

The city is also expecting to have an expanded market for Airbnb, a hospitality service open to the public due to booked hotels.

Because thousands of people are coming for  the weekend, the city expects to bring in roughly $100 million. “The last two All-Star games both produced economic impact numbers. One was $99 million… the other was $106 million. We’re estimating $100 million,” Murray stated.

With names like LeBron James, Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki playing, people will be coming from all over the world to witness their favorite players. Hometown player, Kemba Walker, was selected to his third all-star appearance. Walker, the starting point guard for the Hornets, feels like he finally got his starting spot. “I feel very deserving. I’ve been playing really well this season. I feel like I deserve to be in the position I am today and I think that is why I am,” said Walker.

The All-Star weekend will rival the upcoming 2020 Republican National Convention, also hosted in Charlotte. In 2012, the city brought in $165 million for the Democratic National Convention. The mayor of Charlotte, Vy Lyles, knows that this is an opportunity to recruit and bring in businesses. “We want people to come here and tell their HR, Charlotte is the place to come back and visit,” said Lyles.

This is the first time Charlotte has hosted the All-Star game since the 1990-1991 season. Streets have been blocked off, hotels booked and restaurants staffed. The city of Charlotte, and the surrounding areas, will be ready for the crowds coming to witness some of the best basketball players in the world.

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Tanner White is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in digital media. He enjoys baseball, music, and long walks to the fridge.