Per Beat Writer, Casey Holdahl, the Portland Trail Blazers have made an official bid to host NBA All-Star weekend in either 2017 or 2018. The pitch centered around Portland’s growth as a city, the major sporting goods companies based in the area (Nike, Adidas, etc), and proximity to natural attractions like the Oregon Coast, Mount Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge.
Trail Blazers President, Chris McGowan, has always prioritized bringing the All-Star game to Portland, but has previously been stymied by the city’s lack of available hotel accommodations near the Rose Quarter. However; the in-progress Convention Center Hotel provides a solution to this issue.
Portland’s interest in hosting All-Star weekend explains their desire to make rapid improvements to the Moda Center, itself. Back in March, the Trail Blazers issued a press release stating that the Moda Center will undergo a multi-year renovation that includes (but is not limited to) refurbished seating, refurbished suites, new studio suites, a glass-enclosed bar with a panoramic view of the city, more merchandise kiosks, color changing LED lights, and better WiFi.
This only makes sense. I remember looking around the Smoothie King Center at the 2014 NBA All-Star game in New Orleans and thinking: “There is no way the Moda Center could pull this off as is.” The seats were larger and significantly more comfortable than the Moda Center’s (with leg room), the LED display circling the 200 level contributed to light shows, and the merchandise vendors were easily accessible at all times.
If Portland and the Rose Quarter can prove capable of hosting such an event, the possibilities do not stop at 2017-18. Some of the recent cities have hosted All-Star weekend multiple times in the last decade alone.
Staples Center, Los Angeles: 2004, 2011
Toyota Center, Houston: 2006, 2013
Smoothie King Center, New Orleans: 2008, 2014
So if the Trail Blazers play their cards right, Portland could end up being an intermittent hub for the NBA elite and the fans that accompany them. There is no strict deadline for the NBA to make their decision, but Holdahl reports that the Trail Blazers could hear back from the league sometime this year.