CLEVELAND — It's the final countdown. The NBA, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Destination Cleveland, City of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission are down to the last month of planning for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
"We've been working on this for really several years now and the last year has been at a very almost sprint pace," said David Gilbert, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. "Our goal is that the NBA walks away saying this is the best host city they've ever been to."
Tickets are currently selling for the game, which takes place Feb. 20 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Downtown Cleveland.
"The numbers for ticket sales are well above where past cities have been the past number of years," Gilbert said.
In addition to Sunday's game, Cleveland will host a free, 3-day power of sports summit, a skills challenge, dunk contest and a celebrity game.
"It's such an incredible opportunity for us, and we don't take that lightly," Gibert said.
But Gilbert said to put on an event of this magnitude, organizers are looking for help. They're in search of passionate volunteers to welcome people to Cleveland, helping them find their way around.
"We have tens and tens of thousands of people coming in from out of town for this event. We want them to feel great. We want them to feel welcome."
With COVID still lingering and a high case count, Gilbert said they understand people may be hesitant about crowds. So a team of planners are actively monitoring the omicron surge daily and are preparing to give an update on plans and protocols soon.
"It'll all be done with where we are at that time, where trends are going, but certainly most importantly, keeping safety in mind," Gilbert said.
For businesses wishing to extend their hours until 4 a.m. during the all-star game weekend, applications must be submitted via email by noon on Thursday, Jan. 20. The final decision on approval will be up to the state.
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