CLEVELAND, Ohio – Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. today for NBA Crossover, an interactive fan event scheduled to take place over three days in February when the All-Star game comes to Cleveland.
The NBA Crossover – an amalgamation of events that include current and former players, celebrities and influencers – is set to run Friday, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 20, at Cleveland Public Auditorium. It highlights basketball and culture through art, fashion, music, technology and entertainment surrounding today’s game.
“It’s completely fan first,” said Joey Graziano, NBA’s senior vice president of business operations and events.
“Our goal is to create a custom, curated event for Cleveland,” he said, while keeping in mind the league’s vision, partners, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and other entities.
The league does that by crafting “immersive experiences and micro storytelling,” he said.
The event will include player (NBA and WNBA) and talent appearances, limited-edition merchandise and collectibles, art and memorabilia displays, an emphasis on technology and more.
The Crossover experience is unique, he said, one that represents “the entertainment that surrounds the NBA Game, which is different than certainly from any time or place we’ve operated this before.”
This is the fifth year for Crossover. It’s not enough anymore for a league to come into a city and stage an All-Star game. The accompanying hoopla and outreach to fans is critical for any league’s fandom. In 2019, the multi-display and interactive Play Ball Park was held inside and outside Huntington Convention Center for the Major League All-Star Game.
Cleveland Public Auditorium – which will turn 100 in 2022 – will be the site for Crossover. Usually the home for state-of-the-city addresses and Rock Hall induction ceremonies, it will be the focus for the league and city in February. Tertiary events also will be held at venues throughout Cleveland “to celebrate all of the ways the NBA family comes to life,” Graziano said.
Tickets start at $30 and will be available at NBAEvents.com and through the NBA events app, which can be downloaded via the Apple or Google Play stores. Multiple ticket levels will allow fans to “customize” the experience, he added.
Tickets to other NBA events – including Rising Stars, All-Star Celebrity Game, All-Star Practice and the inaugural HBCU Classic will go on sale in coming weeks. The HBCU Classic will pit Morgan State and Howard University basketball teams. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools are fewer than 50 miles apart on the Atlantic Seaboard.
NBA officials also said downloading the app allows fans to participate in the NBA All-Star Rewards Program, which provides a chance to win prizes and tickets to attend All-Star events.
The program allows fans to engage with the NBA All-Star experience, Graziano said. The “citywide scavenger hunt” works in conjunction with 200 small businesses. Fans can visit the businesses, scan the NBA app, and earn points for prizes. More than 70% of the Cleveland-area businesses are minority- and women-owned, he said.
The 2022 NBA All-Star game is Sunday, Feb. 20, at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. It also marks the league’s 75th anniversary season. The NBA Rising Stars game will be Friday, Feb. 18. And All-Star Saturday Night – which encompasses a skills competition, three-point and slam-dunk competitions – is Feb. 19.
The last time the NBA All-Star game was held in Cleveland was in 1997.
I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.
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