Jul 22, 2010, 3:21 PM EDT
Go ahead and mock LeBron for taking the easy way out in Miami. Make the SuperFriends your most hated team.
They don’t care, and the Miami Heat don’t care. Because money talks. The Lakers had (still hold?) the trophy for most hated team in the league, and they generate more money than any team in the league — selling out at home with the highest ticket prices in the league, selling out on the road, league-best merchandise sales, sponsors clamoring to be associated with them.
The Heat will take that. The financial landscape around the Heat is already changing, as Associated Press reported.
The waiting list for Miami season tickets is growing rapidly, fans willing to pay a nonrefundable $100 fee to join. The NBA says the Heat are tops in merchandise sales, with James, Wade and Bosh having three of the five best-selling jerseys. Businesses all over South Florida are trying to cash in on the act, with everything from a LeBron Burger to a “Heat Suite” replete with a Ferrari rental now available….
Indeed, the impact — social and financial, on-court and off-court — James, Wade and Bosh may end up having together in their newly formed supertrio is already becoming apparent. Some estimate their collective financial impact on South Florida could exceed $1 billion, not even taking into account the $329 million in playing contracts they have with Miami through 2016.
“What this is going to bring to the city of Miami, what winning brings period, what excitement brings, is togetherness,” Wade said. “Everyone wants to be together. Everyone wants to be a part of it. People are going to come. They’re going to flock to Miami.”
Hotels, restaurants, a host of ancillary businesses are going to thrive off of the Heat now. Just as restaurants and bars in downtown Cleveland thrived before. But that’s another story.