NBA All-Star 2016 has had a great impact on the city of Toronto. From being the final all-star game for Kobe Bryant to bringing back the fame of the dunk contest, this weekend will carry great sentimental value. Furthermore, it has brought a great increase in tourism and will continue to have the same effect for the future. It has also given us the chance to proudly demonstrate the great of beauty of the “six” as well as our passionate fan base to the rest of the league.
There are so many things that this all-game will be remembered for. As one of the biggest stops on Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour, the Black Mamba was able to participate in his final all-star game in the great city of Toronto. Certainly, that will be the highlight of this weekend, but there are many more reasons to remember #NBAAllStarTO. It was the first all-star game outside of the United States and so it will be remembered as a landmark moment in which the NBA truly expanded beyond its borders. This all-star weekend should also be remembered as “return of the dunk contest”. Prior to this weekend, no one was really anticipating the final event of Saturday Night. However, two young high flying ballers took flight at the Air Canada Centre and brought back the hype of the dunk contest that has been non-existent since 2000 when a certain Raptors legend changed the game. How fitting that the popularity of the event should return in this city. The sentimental value of this all-star weekend will give people many reasons to remember the city of Toronto.
Increase in Tourism
Tourism Toronto reported a 10% increase in tourism for this city in the past year with hotels being sold out for this weekend. The NBA all-star game attracts fans from all parts of the world and significant revenue for local businesses, restaurants and hotels. Unlike other major sporting events (such as the Pan Am Games) where numerous sectors of the city are used and thus cost more money, the NBA all-star game is hosted in one general area. However, that same area attracts numerous visitors from around the globe. A large number of these visitors are friends and family of NBA stars as well as other celebrities and their entourages. It is truly amazing how much of an impact one weekend can have on a city. What people witness in this one weekend will stay with them forever and that will motivate them to visit the city again. As a result, Toronto suddenly becomes a vacation hotspot as they are able to see what the city is able to offer and the great experiences they are bound to have here. Not to mention the economic benefits an all-star game provides. All this tourism injects cash flow into the city as people spend money of gifts and other items to help them create valuable memories and create the best experience they can possibly have for themselves.
Showcase for the City
It really is unfortunate that this weekend happened to fall on the coldest weekend of the year, especially given the uncharacteristically warm weather this city has had over the past few months. Nevertheless, Toronto has much to offer. From a lively downtown core, to a friendly community, our hometown has the ability to compete with the likes of a New York or Los Angeles and not just on the basketball court. In fact, I was surprised to learn of Kevin Durant spending a couple of days here each summer. As much as these players have been able to give to this city, Toronto has been showcased to them as a viable attraction for future free agents and big-time events. Every superstar that has come here this weekend will leave seeing this city at its best and should surely have a great feeling when entering into negotiations with any of our sports teams. In addition, any time Toronto would like to host major sporting event, this weekend can be used as a great piece of evidence for their viability. Furthermore, the huge influx of cash injected into the city can go towards improving various communities, infrastructures and public services.
Finally, this weekend let the entire world know what amazing fans and great communities exist in this city. The great turnouts at various all-star events and festivities were a great way for us to demonstrate how much love we have for the game. In addition, the two Toronto Raptors taking part in this weekend itself were an indication that Toronto is on the rise in the sports world (if last season’s Blue Jays were not proof enough). The NBA superstars here this weekend got to get a great view of the Raptors’ amazing basketball facilities and felt the power of WeTheNorth. They also got to tour local communities and see for themselves the passion for basketball that exists in this city. Of course, our fanbase extends beyond the city of Toronto so it was great for everyone to recognize the Raptors as the extension of 30 million fans instead of 3 million. It is one thing to watch on TV, but another to see for oneself. The doors were opened this weekend and people got to see the values this city presents and the passionate basketball lovers that are scattered all across this great country.
The NBA All-Star game is a great spectacle no matter the venue. That much was clear this weekend as it was held in frigid temperatures, but still produced one of the greatest weekends ever. The world’s best players and brightest celebrities flocked to the great north to watch the best pickup basketball game on the globe. This has helped transform this city into a tourist hotspot and helped make the Raptors an attractive free agent destination. The 2016 NBA All-Star game has most certainly had a positive impact on the City of Toronto. No one can deny the greatness of the “six” and we should be proud to have been such great hosts.