The NBA All-Star game is in town this weekend, with all the requisite parties and sideshows.
The game is relatively meaningless, but it's a nice event for a city to have. Houston has successfully hosted these games in the past and this weekend will likely be another winner.
It's a credit to the Houston Sports Authority and the Greater Houston Convention Bureau that we continue to get these events. In the last 10 years, we've had a Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Game, Final Four and now two NBA All-Star Games.
There's a chance the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Houston gets bigger over the next few years, too. And there was that World Series appearance in 2005 that was a solid bonus.
The reason for all these events is as simple as 1-2-3: Facilities, hotels and a strong group pursuing big events.
With Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and Reliant Stadium, the city boasts three relatively new, state-of-the-art facilities that can host such events. Throw in BBVA Compass Stadium and there is now something for everything. In addition, the building of the George R. Brown created a perfect place to tandem with downtown events.
And don't underestimate the building of the Hilton near the George R. It provided enough hotel space (along with what already existed) to handle the crush of people.
The Texans are bidding for another Super Bowl, and while that still remains a long shot, if it fails it won't be for a lack of effort.
Just 15 years ago, the city had no NFL, a run down basketball arena that is now a church, and an Astrodome that had outlived its usefulness. These events may not be quite enough to justify the expense, but the residual attention that comes with them is priceless.
It truly has become a golden age for major events in the city. It's a shame the teams aren't doing their share to make it even better. Yes, the Texans are a solid playoff participant now and the Rockets appear to be back on that track. It will be fun to see James Harden in the All-Star Game, too.
The Astros? No comment.
That aside, these events do make the city a major player and bring a lot of good attention to the city. Most of the national media seem to be enjoying themselves, which is a big deal in how a city is perceived. And the weather has cooperated in a big way.
So enjoy the ride. Catch Jam Session. Go downtown and hang around and you will see stars all over the place. It's the kind of thing that many cities simply don't get to experience.
And don't take it for granted because there have been so many of late. We are fortunate to have these events. At some point in the future, the stadiums won't be so new, and there is no French Quarter, Pacific Ocean or 100,000-seat stadium to keep them coming.
So enjoy it while it's happening. We've seen what it's like to be on the outside, and it wasn't all that long ago.