When Heat Isnt Making Baskets At Americanairlines Arena Mike Walkers Events Are Making Money For Heat Group
Written by Miami Today on January 20, 2011
The nights the Miami Heat aren’t on the basketball court are those that concern Mike Walker.
As executive vice president of HEAT Group Enterprises, the umbrella that owns the team and AmericanAirlines Arena, it’s his job to fill the arena on the team’s off nights.
The lights are on about 200 nights a year. With the Heat accounting for 60 of those, depending on how far they go in the playoffs, he and his team have their work cut out for them.
When he first came to Miami in April 2001, after stints at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, the arena wasn’t doing so well in bringing in non-basketball events.
"It was obvious that the old building was still open and some business was staying there as opposed to coming here," he said. "A lot of it was Latin shows, and I wanted to figure out why didn’t they want to come here. The reality was that nobody asked them."
Since then, Mr. Walker said, the venue has become the premier stage for Latin artists in North America outside of New York City.
While making sure the arena hosts a variety of events for South Florida’s diverse population, he’s also working to bring in large-scale events like the Latin Grammys and the MTV Video Music Awards.