ORLANDO – It’s the kind of news that gets a sports fan revved up and excited.
“It’s a great day today to officially launch the countdown,” said Alex Martins, chief executive officer of the Orlando Magic, as he stood on stage inside the Disney Atrium at the Amway Center, to officially tip-off Jan. 4 as NBA All-Star 2012 day.
Joining a host of dignitaries and players from the Orlando Magic to celebrate the excitement building up in the city as it prepares to host the NBA All-Star 2012 next month, Martins said, “During the week of February 20, the entire world will be focused on Orlando.”
And it was the kind of news that a city leader like Mayor Buddy Dyer obviously wanted to hear as well.
“We could not be more thrilled to be hosting the 2012 All-Star game here in Orlando,” Dyer said. “We are an international destination for hospitality, and we will add 150,000 or so for this event.”
“All-Star 2012 is coming up in February,” said Chris Sager, a sportscaster for TNT and TBS, and the moderator of the celebration, which featured the Orlando Magic Dancers and four of the team’s players, including Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic Guards Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson, and Orlando Magic Forward Hedo Turkoglu.
February’s game promises to put a spotlight on both the Orlando Magic and the city of Orlando, as both benefit from worldwide attention given to the game, which will be played at the Amway Center.
“This is exactly why we built this facility, so we could host events like this,” Dyer said. “We anticipate generating $80 million to $100 million in economic activity, and that could not come at a better time. We are extremely pleased to host this event, and we want to ensure the 2012 All-Star is a slam dunk for the city of Orlando.”
The 2012 NBA All-Star Game will be played on Feb. 26 at the Amway Center, which is the home of the Orlando Magic. The team will serve as host. The Magic were awarded the All-Star Game on May 4, 2010 in an announcement by commissioner David Stern. It’s the second time that Orlando has hosted the All-Star Game, the first time being in 1992 in the Orlando Arena, the Magic’s previous home arena.
This game will be the 61st edition of the National Basketball Association All-Star Game.
It promises to be, said Gail Hunter, the NBA’s senior vice president of events and attractions, an exciting month for city residents and sports fans alike.
“Something big is coming to Orlando, and that’s NBA All-Star,” she said. “For one week in February, Orlando will be the All-Star capital of the world.”
From Feb. 23-26, she noted, the NBA would transform the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive into a hub for pre-game activities.
“Then on Friday, February 24, the activities shift to Amway,” she said. “On Saturday, February 25, we are hosting All-Star Saturday Night. We have a full week of activities.”
The celebration event was also an opportunity to unveil the 2012 NBA All-Star Ballot presented by Sprint, allowing fans to vote for their favorite player.
“None of this would be possible without our great NBA partners, including Sprint,” Hunter said.
Tim Considine, Sprint’s director of sports marketing, noted that “This is Sprint’s first year sponsoring an NBA conference. Our partnership with NBA is a win for all of us, but especially sports fans.”
“The Magic are extremely honored to serve as the host franchise of this game,” Martin said. “I’m confident Orlando will shine in this NBA week.”
Sager said like most sports fans, he expects to be in the city all week — and he knows he definitely won’t be alone.
“The All-Star weekend is my favorite weekend of the year, and I’ll be sure to be here,” Sager said, adding that it would be hard to imagine a better venue for the game.
“This is the best arena on the planet, the most fan-friendly,” he said. “We really have something to look forward to, since the 61st All-Star game will be here in Orlando.”
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