June 27, 2012
Yesterday, Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison went on the Dan LeBatard show and had some pretty interesting things to say about the team’s season. (Find the full conversation on iTunes–it’s the one from 6-25 labeled with James Jones and Ozzie Guillen as guests–at about the 35-minute mark.)
LeBatard and Arison discussed the financial status of the Heat organization:
LeBatard: [Earlier], you corrected me on saying that you were running a business. Was that correction because, basically, the Miami Heat haven’t made enough money the last 20 years and this is the first time they’ve turned a profit in the last couple?
Arison: We have lost money every year except the first year LeBron was here and we have lost hundreds of millions of dollars since we built American Airlines Arena. I don’t know if we’ll make money this year or not until all the numbers come in. Obviously, having a playoff run including a seven-game series helps a lot but with the new luxury tax–the new revenue sharing–I think we’ll be lucky to break even but I don’t think we will break even.
LeBatard: Can you explain that to somebody who doesn’t understand, Mickey? Because that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I don’t understand how that can possibly be–where you have the most successful basketball team in the world and you can’t make money.
Arison: It’s the system. It’t the market. Just to give you a sense of numbers–and this is just ballpark, right?–my guess annually 20 million dollars for my TV rights. Teams like the Knicks, or Chicago, or LA will get between 75 and 150. My gate could be a million, a million-1, a million-2. Madison Square Garden is 2.5 million. And guess what? My salaries are the same as those guys. If you’re New York, Chicago, or LA, it’s a business. Anywhere else in the country, it’s a hobby.