Indianapolis to host 2021 NBA All-Star Game

December 13, 2017
Bankers Life Fieldhouse (IBJ file photo)

Indianapolis will host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, a source confirmed to IBJ.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment officials are expected to officially announce the game later Wednesday, more than seven months after former team executive Larry Bird delivered the team’s bid for the game by driving a retro-fitted IndyCar on 5th Avenue in New York.

The game is a huge win for the city, economic development officials say.

According to host city officials and the NBA, the All-Star Game weekend had an $85 million economic impact in Los Angeles in 2011, $95 million in Orlando in 2012, just more than $100 million in Houston in 2013 and $106 million in Orlando in 2014.

The event's economic impact soared to more than $150 million in New York in 2015 before returning to Earth at about $110 million in Toronto last year and $100 million in New Orleans this year.

The Indianapolis game will be held at the 18,165-seat Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Officials involved with the bid also had considered Lucas Oil Stadium, which seats more than 70,000.

The ancillary events—such as the celebrity game, D-League All-Star Game and slam dunk and three-point shooting contests—will be held in Lucas Oil Stadium, which will use the half-stadium configuration that NCAA regional games have used in the past. It typically can seat up to 45,000 spectators.

The NBA All-Star Game was held one other time in Indianapolis, at the RCA Dome in 1985.

In addition to the globally televised All-Star Game, there are numerous glitzy parties—some black tie—over the weekend in the host city.

Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn told IBJ this spring that the All-Star Game would likely require 3,000 volunteers—similar to the number needed for an NCAA men’s Final Four—and would require forming a local organizing committee two to three years out.

The Pacers are expected to formally announce Indianapolis' selection as host for the 2021 game at a 4 p.m. press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Those scheduled to attend include NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Pacers owner Herb Simon, Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.


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