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Indianapolis gears up to host 2024 NBA All-Star Game

SALT LAKE CITY (WISH) — With the 2023 NBA All-Star Game now complete, the countdown is officially on for next year’s event in Indianapolis. 

“Everybody’s excited,” said Mel Raines, president of the 2024 NBA All-Star Game Host Committee. “We’ve been talking about this game since 2017 and we’re ready.”

Plenty of people from Indianapolis made the trip to Salt Lake City for this year’s game this past week. They met with the NBA along with local officials and others to discuss ideas regarding the game to see what worked and what didn’t in Utah. In addition to that, Raines said, she took many photos in Salt Lake City for her and her team to look at and analyze in determination of what looks good and what doesn’t. 

“On my way to meet you, I took about 10 pictures of different signage in bars and restaurants,” Raines said. “Obviously, we’re looking at the operational aspects of the fencing and traffic and all of those things.”

Next year will be the first time Indianapolis has hosted the NBA All-Star Game since 1985. That year, the game was played inside the Hoosier Dome. The 2024 All-Star Game will be played inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Raines told News 8 in Utah that Indianapolis will use its downtown corridor for events next year. “All of the hotel block is right downtown,” Raines said. “Lucas Oil (Stadium), Convention Center, Gainbridge Fieldhouse will be the key venues for most of the events.”

The ultimate goal is to make the 2024 NBA All-Star Game the most memorable one yet.

Patrick Talty is president of Indiana Sports Corp, a nonprofit sports commission created in 1979. He said, “The All-Star Game is really a unique opportunity for us on the international stage.”

Of course, Indy was originally supposed to host All-Star Weekend back in 2021. But, fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic led to the game getting moved to Atlanta. 

As much as the city would have liked to host the game in 2021, people within the Circle City are putting a positive spin on it, noting they’ve had more time to prepare.

Plus, the large construction project outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse could make the arena a greater attraction.

“In some ways, we’re lucky that we got that three-year delay because the Bicentennial Unity Plaza will be open and that’s a huge addition,” said Leonard Hoops, president and chief executive officer of Visit Indy, a tourism nonprofit. “Gainbridge (Fieldhouse), all the renovations on the actual inside of the arena.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday that he’s glad the league found a way to return to Indy after it ultimately didn’t host the game in 2021. “I’m thrilled that we were able to reschedule that COVID All-Star Game to Indianapolis,” he said. “I know (Pacers team owner) Herb Simon and his son Stephen are here. Rick Fuson, team president, is here, together with a team of people from the Pacers and Indianapolis to study the great things that Ryan and Ashley are doing here and the community is doing here.

“As I love about our teams, seeing if they can up it yet another notch when we get to Indianapolis, so I’m already looking forward to it.”

Indiana Pacers players are also excited to see the All-Star Game in their city next February. Guard Tyrese Haliburton joked during a one-on-one interview with News 8 this weekend that Indy hosted a Super Bowl in 2012, so the city can easily do a good job hosting this event. “Indy’s a city that has hosted big events before and knows what they’re doing,” Haliburton said.

The 2024 NBA All-Star Game will be Feb. 18. Events will begin Feb. 16.