TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto was selected as the host of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) 2016 All-Star Game, marking the first time the showcase event will be held outside of the United States, the league said on Monday.
Top players representing the NBA's Eastern and Western Conferences will tip off at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Raptors, on February 14, capping a weekend that includes the popular slam dunk contest and other events.
"We are thrilled that Toronto is hosting our first NBA All-Star Game outside the United States," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "As the site of the first game ever in the NBA, Toronto is an ideal location for this global basketball celebration."
The Raptors, who together with the since-relocated Vancouver Grizzlies were part of the NBA's expansion plans into Canada in 1995, are a long-struggling team that has not made the playoffs since 2008.
Landing an NBA All-Star Weekend, essentially a mix of skills competitions and exhibitions featuring the game's biggest names, offers big business benefits to the host city.
The 2013 event was held in Houston, which estimated a direct economic impact of $60 million, and an overall economic impact of slightly below $100 million.
The 2014 All-Star Game is set for New Orleans, while the 2015 event will be co-hosted by Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Pritha Sarkar