City has hosted 4 all-star games in 7 years


DENVER -- This month's NBA All-Star Game will make Denver the only city in the country to have held four all-star games in seven years, and city officials are reveling in the spotlight.

"It's hard to find the words to express how big a deal this is for the city and the rest of the state," mayor John Hickenlooper said Thursday.

Since 1998, major-league baseball, the NHL and the National Lacrosse League have brought their all-star games to Denver.

Hickenlooper said the Feb. 20 NBA game may be the biggest sports event ever for the city.

"With increased revenues, increased tourism and especially worldwide exposure, Denver will be experiencing benefits for years to come," he said.

City officials said tens of thousands of people were expected to travel to Denver for the game and private events, spending about $30 million on limousines, hotels, meals and other amenities.

The game is to be broadcast live to 214 countries in 43 languages, reaching an estimated 3.1 billion viewers, Hickenlooper said.

The city has budgeted nearly $2.1 million for police overtime and other expenses. Some of that will be reimbursed by the NBA.

Police chief Gerry Whitman said all available officers will work 12-hour shifts through the game weekend. He said parking and traffic are the only major problems he anticipates, and he urged residents to use public transportation to get downtown.