While it’s going to be tough to get tickets to the 2019 NBA All-Star Game unless you are very well connected, fans will soon have the chance to buy tickets to some events that will take place over the league’s Feb. 15-17 weekend in Charlotte.
Starting Wednesday at 10 a.m., the NBA will begin selling tickets for a free, open-air fan fest at the Epicentre, the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Bojangles’ Coliseum, the Rising Stars game at the Spectrum Center, and the All-Star practice and media day at Bojangles’.
Tickets for various events go on sale at AllStarWeekendCharlotte.com. Prices start at $15, the NBA said in a statement.
The All-Star Game weekend is the NBA’s premier event of the year, a bit like the Super Bowl is for the NFL. Uptown Charlotte will be packed with thousands of tourists, celebrities, NBA officials and members of the national media.
Hotel rooms will be expensive and hard to come by. Restaurants and bars will be packed, and traffic will be a headache. The level of security involved will make the weekend feel more like the 2012 Democratic National Convention than a Carolina Panthers playoff game or an ACC Championship game.
“We go after these events in part because of the economic impact and hotels they fill, but also the media impact. People who don’t know our city will learn about it,” Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray said. “It’s a huge deal for us.”
The game is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact for the region, even though tickets to the weekend’s main events — the slam dunk contest, the three-point contest, the skills challenge, and the All-Star Game — won’t be available to the general public. Those are reserved mainly for sponsors, NBA-affiliated individuals, businesses and the Hornets.
The exclusivity of those popular All-Star weekend events is a significant reason why the NBA opens up the ticketing of other events over the weekend to the general public.
“We were interested in making sure the Charlotte community and our fans had access, (so that they can) be part of the event,” Hornets President Fred Whitfield told the Observer.
The Hornets get a block of tickets for the events at the Spectrum Center, which he estimates will lose 15 to 20 percent of its 19,000-seat capacity to media blocks and other arena requirements. The team conducted a lottery for its season ticket holders for tickets for All-Star weekend events, Whitfield said.