In just a couple of weeks, the NBA playoffs will tip off and your Memphis Grizzlies will be in the thick of things.
Of course, we here in the Mid-South are used to playing host to big events in our backyard.
But what if? What if the Grizzlies make it all the way to The Finals? Is Memphis ready for the bright spotlight?
NBA fans in the Bluff City have already purchased all plaza and club level tickets for the first two playoff games to be held in Memphis. Terrace level tickets are still available.
So without question, the fans are ready, but is the city of Memphis ready? Not just for the first two games but would it be ready if the Grizzlies made it all the way to the 2013 NBA Finals?
It's not uncommon to have a smaller market NBA city host The Finals. San Antonio has done it, Cleveland has done it. Just last year Oklahoma City. So it's doable.
"We've had a lot of other events going on in the city other than just an NBA playoff game, so I think Memphis, the hospitality industry, the police department, the city overall is ready to handle whatever comes our way," said Kevin Kane, President and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.
An NBA Finals would bring an influx of international media. A lack of downtown hotel space in the Bluff City has caused Memphis to miss out on NBA All-Star games in the past but Kane says the finals wouldn't be a problem.
"There are very few tickets available for the out of town travelers coming to support the other team," he said. "Obviously you have to make accommodations for the influx of media that come in every round of the playoffs that you continue to go towards. We'll be ready for that we can handle it."
One thing the city isn't worried about is what a finals would cost taxpayers. Memphis has hosted big events before, like the NCAA Div. I Men's Basketball South Regional and taxpayers didn't foot much of the bill.
Estimates FOX13 News has received from Oklahoma City officials show an NBA Finals run brings in more money than it pays out.
"Normal cost of doing business," said Maura Black Sullivan, Memphis Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. "It's whenever were have large events in town we are perfectly prepared to handle those as we do with Memphis in May or a presidential visit or anything else. It would include extra police force, extra police presence but were glad to do that."
"When the playoffs come around you want to step up your game a little bit," added said John Pugliese, senior director of marketing communications with the Grizzlies. "When you on a national stage so you have a lot of national media coming in not just exposing the Grizzlies to that stage but to the city of Memphis. So the more the people in the city, our partners and sponsors in Memphis can get behind the team the better it is for everybody in the city."
City of Memphis officials say they have already spoke with officials from other NBA cities to get a feel for how they handled The Finals.
"Mayor (A C) Wharton has talked to city officials in Oklahoma on a continual basis just at different mayors meetings," Sullivan said. "We have looked at those practices and we'll continue to do that."
Kaylee McDaniel, the public relations coordinator for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber told FOX13 News the Thunder have brought a lot of positive attention to Oklahoma City and they have been very active in the community, like the Grizzlies have in Memphis.
She also said the national and international attention leading up to The 2012 Finals was an incredible chance for Oklahoma City to be in the spotlight.
So an NBA Finals no matter the cost is a all around win for the city.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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