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NBA All-Star Game Coming to L.A. in 2011

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, June 08, 2009, at 09:57AM
2011 NBA All-Star Game Press Conference Eric Richardson [Flickr]

AEG CEO Tim Leiweke, NBA Commisioner David Stern, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilwoman Jan Perry pose with a basketball bearing the logo for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.

The 2011 NBA All-Star Game is returning to Los Angeles and Staples Center just seven years after its last appearance. NBA Commissioner David Stern made the news official this afternoon in a press conference that features Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilwoman Jan Perry and AEG CEO Tim Leiweke.

"We actually tried to bid on the Finals," Leiweke joked. "But David assured me that, despite what is occasionally written, those are not awarded but earned. And so we did the next best thing and we went after the NBA All-Star Game."

Leiweke said that events like the All-Star Game were a major part of the planning for the $2-billion L.A. Live complex, now nearing completion across the street from Staples Center.

"With the hotel opening next year and the rest of the campus being finished off, this was the first major event that we went out and bid on, and the first major event that we have now been awarded," Leiweke said. "We couldn't be more pleased."

Villaraigosa praised the economic impact associated with the game, estimated at roughly $100 million. "Obviously this will be a great shot in the arm."

The All-Star Game attracts more out-of-town visitors than even an event like the NBA Finals. "All-Star somehow attracts a lot of people who don't even make it to the Finals, because they can make their plans very much in advance," Stern said, adding that foreign fans contribute to the leagues preference for warm-weather host cities.

Los Angeles is likely to see NBA All-Star games more often than it has in the past. Stern said that the NBA is shortening its rotation of host cities. "It's getting more difficult to find cities with the kind of amenities, the close-in hotel accommodations, the convention center and the like," he said. "It's been very successful here. The last one was a great success, and with L.A. Live and the new hotel construction Downtown it'll be even better for us."

Perry thanked Leiweke for the impact his firm and the L.A. Live complex have had on the Convention Center and the service industry. "As we move toward 2011 ... we will have our people working, busy and ready to go and to showcase our city," she said.

AEG owns and manages venues around the world, and when Leiweke was asked about whether he could see an All-Star game at one of his company's international arenas. "Yes," he answered quickly.

The NBA played a preseason exhibition game at AEG's O2 Arena in London, and Leiweke said he hopes to bring more league events to that venue. "We've had a great experience with [the NBA] in London, and clearly they know that it's the number one arena in the world right now in terms of events and activity. We've love to do something else with them over there."

The Los Angeles All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, February 20, 2011. It will be the capstone of a week of activities.

The fan-interactive NBA Jam Session will take place in the Convention Center and will be open most of the week. On February 18, Staples Center will host the Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam. Saturday will see the 3-point shooting and slam dunk contests, among other events. Numerous private parties and events typically take place around the game.

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