This weekend's star-studded NBA All-Star break in Dallas could dwarf even New Orleans' epic celebration of the Saints' Super Bowl win
No sooner did Super Bowl XLIV break all-time TV viewing records—trumping the record that M*A*S*H's Hawkeye and Hot Lips have held since the '80s and making Mardi Gras beads February's must-have fashion accessory—but this coming weekend features not one or two, but three major sports events in a veritable MegaloMegaSportaThon. It's fitting that some observers are calling the NBA All-Star break a North Texas dress rehearsal for next year's Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex. NBA executives and local organizers expect to set a record for the largest crowd ever to view a live basketball game, an echo of the 106.5 million who tuned in to this year's Super Bowl. The NBA, host Dallas Mavericks, and the Cowboys expect about 80,000 to 90,000 to attend this year's All-Star Game. The event has long been officially sold out and organizers expect three times the number of ticket holders to flock to North Texas for the festivities. The state of Texas is contributing about $13.3 million to event planning. While most of the holiday weekend's events will be held at the American Airlines Center, home court of the Mavericks, and the NBA All-Star Jam Session will take place at the nearby Dallas Convention Center, it's the conversion of the biggest football stadium in the U.S. into the country's biggest basketball venue that captivates facilities junkies and camera crews. Cowboys Stadium architects HKS, headquartered in Dallas, devoted hundreds of work hours to conversion planning when they designed the primarily football venue. HKS is particularly proud this weekend because the firm was also in charge of renovating American Airlines Arena. Super Bowl just "a bar mitzvah?"
Turner Sports/TNT is pleased with ad sales so far, despite going up against the Vancouver Winter Olympics on NBC. The attractive young demographic that the NBA typically draws will no doubt appreciate TNT's collaboration with Usher on an exclusive music video promoting All-Star weekend, featuring clips of such NBA players as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett, and Dwyane Wade. Playing up its social media savvy, NBA Digital is reviving its All-Star Scene area, an All-Star Game-themed digital programming initiative that made its debut on NBA.com last year. This weekend, All-Star Scene will add 12 hours of live programming on Feb. 12, including an All-Star version of the digital channel's interactive talk show, The Jump. American Airlines Arena regular and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is ready to party. "It literally could be the largest party weekend in the history of the United States," Cuban recently told reporters. "All-Star Weekend will make the Super Bowl look like a bar mitzvah." Who are the most powerful athletes on and off the field? Click here to see the 2010 Bloomberg BusinessWeek Power 100.