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Chris Jones

Media Exposure: Las Vegas Lands NBA All-Star Game

29 July 2005

Las Vegas will host the National Basketball Association's All-Star Weekend in February 2007, multiple sources told the Review-Journal on Thursday.

League representatives would not publicly confirm whether Las Vegas will become the first city without an NBA franchise to host its popular midseason exhibition, but NBA Commissioner David Stern has quietly informed local leaders he will make an official announcement one week from today at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Local efforts to land the 57th annual All-Star Weekend were led by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, whose board of directors on July 12 agreed to spend more than $4.5 million for tickets, site fees and other expenses associated with hosting the event, should the NBA select Las Vegas.

The authority hopes to recoup approximately $1.65 million by packaging tickets and reselling them to resort customers. But All-Star Weekend's greatest potential benefit to Southern Nevada is the widespread media exposure that would showcase the city before a global audience of potential visitors.

Rossi Ralenkotter, president of the convention authority, said earlier this month that 2004's All-Star Weekend at Staples Center in Los Angeles produced more than 475 million "media impressions" around the globe, ranging from newspaper stories to segments on television programs such as "SportsCenter" and "Entertainment Tonight."

Most 2007 All-Star events would be telecast on ESPN and TNT cable networks.

Factoring in international coverage, the year's Sunday All-Star game would be telecast in more than 210 countries and 40-plus languages.

Ralenkotter said All-Star events would draw more than 25,000 visitors who would buy nearly 43,000 room nights in area hotels. The NBA alone previously agreed to book up to 5,000 room nights for league executives and VIPs at Strip resorts should Las Vegas' bid be accepted.

Overall, visitors' projected nongaming economic effect over All-Star Weekend is approximately $27 million.

State gaming regulators last month agreed to prevent Nevada's legalized sports books from accepting wagers on All-Star events in Las Vegas. Still, well-heeled athletes and their fans -- which historically include Hollywood stars, pop musicians and the like -- are expected to patronize Las Vegas casinos.

Some locals believe having All-Star Weekend might bolster Las Vegas' quest to land its first major professional sports franchise. But Stern has stated that is a separate, and at this point moot, issue in relation to the NBA.

A convention authority spokeswoman on Thursday referred calls to the NBA's league office in New York. Reached there, spokesman Tim Frank said the 2007 All-Star selection process is "still under way" and "no Las Vegas press conference has been scheduled."

However, local sources said the NBA told the convention authority of Las Vegas' selection earlier this week. Still, that decision publicly remains "unofficial" until Stern's Aug. 5 media event.