Pragash Sritharan is getting ready for a hectic few days at Hoops, the downtown bar he manages, as the city prepares to welcome the best and brightest, including many A-list celebrities.
Toronto is set to host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game from Feb. 12 – 14 at the Air Canada Centre. Hoops is located in the heart of the hype, between the Air Canada Centre and the Rogers Centre. While Sritharan is not new to the chaos that Toronto sporting events can bring, he is still taking precautions to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“We hired a bunch of new staff and we’re just getting ready for the craziness,” said Sritharan. “We’re kind of used to it because we’re around the stadium. There are at least 25 events a month.”
The NBA All-Star Game will impact more than area bars and eateries. Aside from the usual festivities, such as the rising stars challenge, skills competition, and the game itself, many people flood to the host city for the parties happening during the three-day event.
Rappers Travis Scott and Future, along with Toronto Raptor Cory Joseph, DJ Drama and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal are just a few of the names hosting events.
The mass of people coming into Toronto will benefit local businesses, including Hoops.
“I don’t know when the next All-Star Game is going to be in Toronto, so I’m looking forward to it,” Sritharan said. He compared this rush of people to the Blue Jays playoff run last October.
“Any time Toronto teams get into the playoffs, it’s insane. The whole street was flooded with just blue. You’re kind of overwhelmed seeing the whole crowd coming. It’s good.”
According to a study done by University of New Orleans’ Hospitality Research Center, the average visitor spent just over $900 US during their trip to New Orleans for their All-Star weekend back in 2014. This type of spending, coupled with the Canadian Dollar hovering around 69 cents US, will help pump money into the city.
“We’re going to have more people in this city (compared to the Blue Jays in the playoffs),” Sritharan said.
“We’re definitely going to be packed. It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be popping in this area … it’s going to be three days of insanity.”
The party runs from Feb. 12 through to Valentine’s Day.
Here is a list of parties and events taking place in Toronto during All-Star Weekend:
Have we missed an event? Leave a comment with a link to an event and we will add it to the map.