All-Star Game in Portland??
With the All Star Weekend upon us I feel it is important to discuss the option of the NBA bringing the All Star Game to Portland. In the past few years smaller market teams like Milwaukee have hosted the All Star Game. If a town like Milwaukee has been granted this mid-season honor why can’t Portland? The All Star Game has changed in the past decade. It has become more of an “All Star Weekend” and thus brings hundreds of thousands of people to the area for a 5 day period. Thus, cities like Milwaukee who have hosted it in the past and now have compete on an un-level playing field with larger cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and LA.
Thousands of people come to the city which hosts the game to be around the action. Sometimes hundreds of people have only a ticket to the All Star Saturday or no ticket and still come for the atmosphere. Hence, the NBA likes to have a concentration of hotels close to the arena, or close to the action of the hosting city. This is a major drawback to Portland which we will address later.
First, to understand how an NBA receives the game you must understand the league has a bid process that ANY city (hence Vegas last year) can apply for. They have very specific requirement such the police presence during the weekend, adequate public transportation, a city cash requirement, and hotel room requirement. Portland meets all the above requirement except for the hotel condition.
Here is the league hotel requirement:
1. 5000+ rooms in 6-10 hotels for 5 days.
2. Hotels need to be in a concentrated area like Downtown, or within a close proximity of each other.
3. Usually these hotels to be 4-5 stars…not Holiday Inns.
4. One of those hotels the NBA executives like to take over as their own, the others are for players, media, fans, etc.
Portland has about 3-4 thousand rooms available, at the best one thousand short of the requirement. Also hurting Portland is that the hotel rooms are spread out, not in one concentrated area. Further, we lack enough 4-5 star hotels the league enjoys.
All of this aside the NBA would LOVE to come to Portland. Portland is considered one of the better basketball cities, and one of the best cities to vacation in. To try and address the hotel situation the idea of bringing in cruise ships up the Willamette River to make enough hotel space has been discussed. However, some cruise ships can’t make it up far enough, and the ones that would be able to would have to charge 5 thousands dollars per night to cover costs. Cities like Jacksonville did this for the Super Bowl, and one of the past Olympic sites also used this option. But the league feels that the clientele who frequent the All-Star Game would not be willing to pay thousands of dollars per night for rooms only.
For these reasons the Blazers have not submitted a bid, and will not in the foreseeable future. Even with the approval of the 600 room hotel near the Convention Center this would not be enough to attract the NBA or enough to even make a case to have it come to Portland.
What are your thoughts? Should Portland bring the boats up the Willamette and make a legitimate bid for the All-Star Game?