发信人: bison (九尖山下仙, 石象湖边客), 信区: Basketball
标 题: Long playoff run doesn't translate to extra cash for Heat
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Sun Jun 11 00:16:05 2006), 转信
By Sarah Talalay
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted June 11 2006
The Heat's 2005-06 season has been a success both on and off the court. The
stands at AmericanAirlines Arena have been full each night and the team's
merchandise is the most popular in the NBA, with Dwyane Wade's jersey the top
seller and Shaquille O'Neal's ranked sixth.
The team's playoffs run and its first trip to the NBA Finals have meant nine
home playoff games and the promise of at least two -- possibly three -- more,
which should mean the team is flush with cash.
Well, not exactly.
While a long playoff run is a boost to revenue , gate receipts are shared with
the league; players and coaches get performance bonuses; and the team pays $
18 million annually toward the debt service for construction of the $213
million arena it calls home.
"This one, I think, will be the best year we've ever had, but we're still not
covering our cost of financing," said Heat owner Micky Arison, who is also
chairman and chief executive officer of Carnival Corp. "It is what it is.
Fortunately, Carnival Corp. is a very successful company and we've not had to
worry about this too much. No one likes to lose money in anything they do."
For a billionaire like Arison, however, losing money on the Heat doesn't
signal the despair it might to a less well-heeled owner.
"Once you own a team, clearly in this market, it's not a business. It's not
something you can make any money doing, in any sport, except maybe football,"
Arison said. "I'm passionate about the game. I want to have a team that can
win it all."
With a $62.5 million payroll that includes the NBA's highest paid player,
Shaquille O'Neal, who earned $20 million this season, team officials are
predicting, at best, a break-even year.
"It depends if you include the debt service on the building," Arison said. "If
you don't have to pay the debt service, as we will, we will come as close as
we've ever come."
Arison also said the team's ticket prices are not among the highest in the
league. "Despite the fact that people view them as being high, they're lower
than in Chicago, L.A., even Sacramento," he said.
According to Team Marketing Report, which ranks teams' ticket prices, the Heat
's ticket prices rank 10th in the NBA, with an average price of $50.87. The
Heat does not release an average ticket price figure.
The team kept prices mainly steady or in some cases reduced them for five
years before instituting a price hike for this past season.
"During the lean years when attendance was terrible, we lowered the prices,"
Arison said. "Now we're going through a catch-up process."
The team ranked fourth in attendance in the league (19,954 fans per game)
during the regular season.
During the playoffs, game receipts are shared with the NBA, with the home team
keeping 55 percent and the league receiving 45 percent. If a series ends in
five games or seven games, receipts from the last game are divided, with the
home team receiving 45 percent, the visiting team 25 percent and the league 30
Experts estimate the Heat brings in at least $1 million from each playoff game
A state sales tax rebate provides $2 million a year for 30 years; American
Airlines pays 2.1 million a year for 20 years for the naming rights to the
Also on the plus side, the team receives $2 million a year for 30 years from a
state sales tax rebate and $2.1 million a year for 20 years from American
Airlines for the naming rights to the venue.
Additionally, Miami-Dade County pays another $6.4 million a year to maintain
and operate the arena, which it owns.
The Heat is paying for most of the cost of the arena's construction, which
requires an $18 million debt service payment annually. Arison said he has been
trying to restructure the debt on the arena, but lower interest rates have
hampered that process.
"With interest rates much lower, that would have created a huge prepayment
penalty," Arison said. "As interest rates go up, that may help."
The trade for O'Neal in July 2004 changed the team's fortunes. Since February
2005, the Heat has recorded 57 sellouts during the regular season, in addition
to the sellouts for playoff games.
Last year the team began allowing season ticket-holders to lock in their
prices at reduced rates in exchange for making a three-year commitment.
"We made a conscious decision given the experiences we have had with what
happened here a couple of years ago, that we would leave a little money on the
table to lock in some certainty, to give our most loyal fans the lowest
prices," said Eric Woolworth, Heat president of business operations.
Woolworth said about 50 percent of next year's season ticket-holders will be
in the first or second year of a three-year renewal. He said season ticket
sales are so brisk the team is running out of inventory and may again
institute a waiting list.
"People who want season tickets better be calling soon," Woolworth said.
Sarah Talalay can be reached at [email protected] or 954-356-4173.
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