Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Scoff all you want at the notion of the South Beach version of the Big 3.
One thing you can’t deny, though, is their star power.
The Miami Heat’s super trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh has turned the basketball world upside down months before anyone hits the floor for training camp this season. But they are paying immediate dividends for the franchise that won the free agent sweepstakes.
They’ve also sparked a ticket craze in Miami. In fact, you can’t even get a season ticket down there anymore.
The Heat suspended season ticket sales Thursday afternoon, before James even made his announcement that he would be joining Wade and Bosh.
The sellout was the result of an intense two-day influx of interest that twice crashed the team’s website and jammed its phone lines.
Those trying to buy a season-ticket package through Heat.com Thursday afternoon were greeted with the message: “To purchase your HEAT Season Tickets, please call 786-777-HOOP (4667).”
But many who dialed the number were greeted with an automated response. Those fortunate to get someone on the line learned that just a handful of tickets still remained — at some $6,000 apiece. But as the day progressed, even those vanished.
While the season tickets are apparently gone, the entire season is not quite a sellout. The organization is holding back some single-game tickets for the public, but those will surely go just as fast — especially if James heads south.
The Heat declined to comment on the ticket situation Thursday.
The unprecedented crush began with Wednesday’s news that Wade and Bosh agreed to join forces in South Florida, and reached a fever pitch with speculation that James would complete the All-Star trio.
For anyone remotely familiar with the apathetic nature of the South Florida sports fan, this level of fervor is foreign, to say the least.
It’s been said more than once that Miami gets excited only for world-class events, and this has to qualify.
Last year, when the Heat went 47-35 and was quickly bounced by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, the franchise ranked 15th and 16th in average attendance (17,730) and capacity (90.5 percent), respectively.
That certainly won’t be a problem this year.