NBA Tells Cleveland: If Q Construction Not Underway by September 15, No All-Star Game in 2020 or 2021


  • Sam Allard / Scene
Attached to an amicus brief that the Cleveland Cavaliers filed with the Ohio Supreme Court Thursday was a letter from the NBA's Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.

It advised David Gilbert (of Destination Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission) that if construction on the Quicken Loans Arena renovation isn't underway before September 15, Cleveland will no longer be considered as a host city for the NBA All-Star Game in 2020 or 2021.

"We have already delayed the awarding of these All-Stars to accommodate Cleveland," Tatum wrote, "and unfortunately, we cannot ask the other NBA cities that have held these dates open to wait any longer."

Tatum added that starting construction by the approved date would not guarantee Cleveland's selection as a host city.

The potential All-Star Game, and the $100 million in economic activity it would purportedly generate, has been one of the principal justifications for the renovation by its supporters. It was used by the Cavs in their brief, which argued that the Ohio Supreme Court should side with Cleveland City Council Clerk Pat Britt and uphold the denial of more than 20,000 signatures seeking referendum on the Q Deal.

"Once the Q Transformation is completed," the Cavs brief reads, "the city's increased ability to attract more events and higher quality events to the Q will likewise increase the portion of the admissions tax flowing to the General Fund. The renovations must be commenced soon and completed quickly to attract new events to downtown Cleveland — such as the 2020 NBA All-Star Week."

The brief characterized the referendum effort as a "shakedown," and, like the other briefs in support of the deal, said that petition attempts were moot because a binding contract had already been entered into and could not be repealed. More on the briefs in an upcoming piece.

(This is the letter from Tatum to Dave Gilbert).

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