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Front Page » Top Stories » Win or lose, Miami Heat benefits economy

Win or lose, Miami Heat benefits economy

Written by on June 18, 2014

Who doesn’t love a win? While 1-4 isn’t the desired way to wrap up 2014, win or lose, when the Miami Heat play at the downtown AmericanAirlines Arena, the benefit to the area is huge.

The value added of home games is two-fold, especially during high profile events like the NBA Finals. Drawing 40,000 fans per game to the Miami area results in more restaurant, bar and hotel tabs, and broadcasting the Miami skyline on national television is one of the best possible advertisements for the city.

“As far as the fans going to the game and eating at restaurants, just having them there is fabulous,” said Alyce Roberston, director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA). “The other part about it is that the image around the world of our skyline. Our skyline looks gorgeous when you see it,” Ms. Roberston said.

“Compare and contrast our skyline to San Antonio’s, for example. San Antonio has a bunch of parking lots around their arena. We have tropical waterfront,” she said. San Antonio is home to the Spurs, the team that beat the Heat for this year’s championship.

“It’s not just the actual 40,000 fans coming to downtown and eating and drinking before and after the game. The broadcast certainly helps us be recognized as an urban hotspot,” Ms. Robertson said.

While a win can be seen on the faces of fans as they head out after a game – and a loss is just as visible – either way the Miami Heat and their downtown arena have a significant economic impact on the city. Nearly $1.4 billion in total economic impact is generated by the Heat and the AmericanAirlines Arena annually when direct and external benefits are included, reported a 2012 Washington Economics Group (WEG) study.

More than 21,000 jobs for Miami-Dade County residents are either directly or indirectly supported by the team and their home court. In addition to impacting job creation, $27 million in public revenues for state and local government is generated by the team and their court.

The exposure the Heat playing at home brings to Miami is huge, and reverberates outside the hundreds of millions in economic impact. “It also has a ripple effect – that media coverage. The international viewers that are thinking of buying and doing business in Miami see the city. It ups the Miami brand significantly,” Ms. Roberston said.

The spillover effect, or what WEG calls “externality,” stems from the national and international appeal of the Heat. “This far-reaching visibility provides extremely profitable spillover effects because it aligns Miami’s natural strengths at the most opportune time,” the study said. There’s nothing like a television spot to highlight a glowing urban environment.

International appeal can also be seen in the crowds that tend to arrive downtown for big games. The InterContinental Miami was the headquarter hotel for the NBA this finals while the games were in Miami. That resulted in an approximate 300-room block for the organization, said Mike Kovensky, sales and marketing director for the hotel.

“Compared to last year, we’re up by about 7% occupancy and we became the headquarter hotel. It’s really a combination of location and availability,” Mr. Kovensky said. When the Heat are at home, the InterContinental wins.

The hotel, located at 100 Chopin Plaza, saw an occupancy spike the week of the Finals, 7% to 10% higher than last year. “We’re north of 90% occupancy some nights, and some nights we’ll sell out,” Mr. Kovensky said.

“Anytime you can show yourself off to an audience of that magnitude,” Mr. Kovensky said, “it’s an international audience. The games provide only an upside for the city.” Here’s to next year.