AmericanAirlines Arena – Miami Heat

by | Nov 14, 2017 | Chris Green, NBA | 0 comments

Fanfare Score

Total Score
4.43

Crowd Score

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Feeling the Heat Culture

The Miami Heat have felt the highest of highs and the lowest of lows throughout their existence. Now, with LeBron James, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh all off the roster, the team has re-tooled and brought out a new crop of young players looking to make the Heat a title contender again. And like those years before the title runs, the energy in the building is only growing more intense by the game. Add to this a top-notch arena that feature’s the latest and greatest in customer service options, and there is no shortage of places for you to soak in the Heat Culture.

Food & Beverage   5

If you want the true flavor of Miami, AmericanAirlines Arena has it. Mixed in with the traditional burger, fries, hot dogs, and pizza is a wonderful amalgam of Latin fixtures and international specialties. Suite-level boxes showcase freshly-made paella. Concession stands in general admission areas offer Cuban sandwiches alongside pork sliders and fruit juice mixes to drink. Prices are reasonable for a sports venue, with a meal and a drink ranging around $10-$15 per person. In addition, there are Kosher offerings for Jewish fans, both on game nights and during concerts and special events at the arena – the team and arena’s social media pages will show you what special offerings are available each night at different locations.

Atmosphere   5

AmericanAirlines Arena really captures the Miami feel. From the fresh beats of local DJs (including frequent appearances by DJ Irie) spinning up great music to get excited about, to the what some feel is the best announcer in the NBA in Michael Biamonte, the fans “Staaaaaaaand up” and “Make some nooooooise” for their Miami Heat. During player intros, giant flame throwers light up the darkness as the starters are announced, and a well-edited hype video plays to get everyone ready for the game. The Miami Heat dance team, voted four times as the NBA’s best, are also entertaining with their performances. In addition, the Golden Oldies (think Heat dancers, but with senior citizens) are always one of the biggest attractions for fans, drawing oohs and ahhs with plenty of laughs as well.

The fans get the chants going, especially during close games or exciting runs in the middle of games. The décor is a mix of unfinished and exposed concrete, as well as artistic expression for flair. It seems like the place isn’t quite done evolving, much like the city of Miami feels on a constant basis.

Neighborhood   4

AmericanAirlines Arena is in the heart of downtown Miami, located right on the water’s edge of Biscayne Bay, literally across the street from Bayside shopping market. Here, fans can find a great array of shopping and dining options that are great both before the game and late into the night afterwards.
The downtown financial district is a five-minute walk away, featuring the likes of The Capital Grille, and South Beach is just a causeway’s drive across the bay from the arena, where you can find everything from clubs, resort destinations, and the famous art-deco district. However, the downsides are evident outside.

Miami’s sidewalks aren’t exactly pristine and clean, and the city’s skid row exists right outside AmericanAirlines Arena, along one of the streets most fans walk through on their way out of the game to the parking lots located nearby. However, immediately next door to the venue is the recently completed Museum Park, where both an art and a science museum reside, as well as a large green space for locals to come relax.

Finding somewhere to stay near AmericanAirlines Arena isn’t hard, as there are various hotels located around the arena and within driving distance. Also, there are lots of high-end resorts nearby at South Beach, and the Intercontinental also serves as a high-end option right in downtown. There is also a Holiday Inn steps away from the venue, on the other side of Biscayne Boulevard.

Fans   5

Miami Heat fans are loud, opinionated, and represent Miami in every way. They love their hometown heroes and big stars alike. They make it known when they’re not happy at the ref’s call, and they know how to party when a big shot goes in. Yet despite their wild and crazy ways, the games always feel family-friendly. There are signs all around the arena, as well as loudspeaker announcements notifying fans to report unruly behavior anonymously. This gives attendees a sense of safety for their young ones who have come to watch the Heat play.

Access   3

Access is where the Miami Heat suffer their biggest setback. Getting to AmericanAirlines Arena is not inherently difficult – whether coming down I-95 from the north or on the 836 from elsewhere, downtown Miami is hard to miss. Figuring out where to get off, however, is not easy. The main exit on the 836 heading east that leads to the arena is on the left side of the highway, a rarity in South Florida.  As such, and adding in the massive lack of signage for fans to follow, some (like myself) may find themselves taking the tunnel to PortMiami, only to have to turn around and take the tunnel back out, and exit near the Arscht Center opera and ballet house, or cross back over the bridge from the port, which exits next to AmericanAirlines Arena.

Parking is rough when attending a Miami Heat game, as most open spaces downtown will cost you at least $20-$50, depending on how close you park. You may be able to snag a spot for $20 one block from the main entrance, or it may cost you way more, depending on supply and demand.

If you live to the south or north, you can take the Metrorail to the Metromover, which will drop you off mere blocks from AmericanAirlines Arena. Alternatively, if you want to skip the bus ride, park and ride lots make it easy to go right to the metro rail on the south end at Dadeland Station.

Return on Investment   4

Going to a Miami Heat game isn’t exactly cheap, as the law of supply and demand makes the team’s tickets among some of the most expensive in South Florida sports. However, the show you get on the court is usually among the best in sports in South Florida as well. If you are a big sports fan or an NBA junkie, you have to make a trip to AmericanAirlines Arena, as it is definitely a must-see in the sports world.

Extras   5

The Miami Heat have no shortage of giveaways, as they provide fans plenty of incentives to come to specific games through t-shirt, magnet, and bobblehead nights. The Miami Heat also participate annually in the Noche Latina celebration, where the team wears “El Heat” jerseys, and the performers are all of Hispanic origin in celebration of Hispanic history.

Another neat aspect that debuted a few seasons ago are the various NanoLumens displays outside on the patio. These displays keep fans updated on what is happening inside the arena during the game, so you won’t miss any of the action, should you need a drink or something to eat during game play.

In addition, one of the cooler ways the Heat have honored their best is by hanging a championship banner for both their conference and NBA titles alongside banners for players who won Olympic medals with the USA National Team (Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway gold in 2000, Dwyane Wade gold in 2008, LeBron James gold in 2012); this display gives a feel of international pride in the Miami Heat’s brand and history.

Celebrity sightings are not uncommon at AmericanAirlines Arena, as the likes of Gloria Estefan, David Beckham, Anna Kournikova, and others have been known to be seen courtside in the Heat’s house.  In addition, on occasion fans may be eligible to go onto the court for post-game free throws, depending on special ticket packages fans can purchase, which is definitely a memory that will not go away soon.

Final Thoughts

There are few sports facilities in South Florida that have the passion, unique atmosphere, and quality that the AmericanAirlines Arena has. Its fans are second to none, and the feel you get there matches that of the South Beach party vibe that Miami is known for.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 379-8866

http://www.bubbagump.com/locations/miami/


The Capital Grille

444 Brickell Ave

Miami, FL 33131

(305) 374-4500

http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/locations/fl/miami/miami/8006


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Entertainment Recommendations

Museum Park

1075 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 358-7550

http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/parks/museum-park/118675


Jungle Island

1111 Parrot Jungle Trail

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 400-7000

https://www.jungleisland.com/


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Lodging Recommendations

 

InterContinental Miami

100 Chopin Plaza

Miami, FL 33131

(305) 577-1000

https://www.icmiamihotel.com/


 

Holiday Inn Port Of Miami – Downtown

340 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 371-4400

https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/miami/


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Crowd Reviews

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Stadium Info

AmericanAirlines Arena
601 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132

Miami Heat website

AmericanAirlines Arena website

Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 19,600

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