The 2014 NBA All-Star Game is heading to Canada.
Commissioner David Stern announced today that the Toronto Raptors will host it’s first All-Star weekend. It will mark the 20th year anniversary of the franchise.
Rumors had been swirling all week. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun first reported the news: “Multiple sources told the Toronto Sun Tuesday that the Raptors are on the verge of landing the 2016 NBA All-Star weekend”.
Wolstat also suggested that Major Leafs Sports and Entertainment CEO, Tim Leiweke, was the biggest factor behind the campaign. As part of the conference, global rap-star Drake was announced as a “host, business partner, and consultant”. He will primarily be responsible for promoting the event, which is being hailed a ”celebration of Toronto”.
In 2010, Drake told ESPN that he is a “Raptors fan to the death” and is regularly seen courtside at the team’s home games.
Perhaps the biggest personnel move in team history, Drake will be the centerpiece behind the re-launch of the Raptors brand. A hot topic for the city of Toronto, it was first thought that the team would change its name to the ‘Huskies’. However, Leiweke confirmed this will not be happening anytime soon.
“We promise to you the best All-Star game and week that we’ve ever had,” said Tim Leiweke at the Air Canada Centre.
Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford, was also present and predicted that the economical impact for the city would approach $100 million.
“This is an amazing opportunity to draw economic growth while showcasing our vibrant city on the world stage,” said Ford.
The last time Toronto hosted an All-Star Game was in 2006, when it saw the National Lacrosse League take the stage. The NHL came to town in 2000 and the Toronto Blue Jays hosted baseball’s event in 1991, at the newly opened Rogers Centre.