SBD/Issue 204/Franchises

Heat Well-Positioned For Business Boost From Wade, Bosh

Heat Expecting To See Gains In Sponsorship,
Tickets With Recent High-Profile Signings

Regardless of who else joins the Heat, the team is "well-positioned to command a regularly full arena, an increase in jersey sales, and the potential for new sponsorships, national TV games and a boost in advertising rates on local broadcasts" with G Dwyane Wade and F Chris Bosh yesterday both announcing their decision to play for the Heat, according to Sarah Talalay of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The boost would be the Heat's "biggest since the team made the trade" for C Shaquille O'Neal in July '04, and "back then, the arena sold out every night, was regularly on national TV and starred in Christmas Day games." Michael Cramer, Dir of the Texas Program In Sports & Media at the Univ. of Texas, said if the Heat are "able to pull off the coup of bringing" free agent F LeBron James in as well, "The ticket will be the hottest ticket in the NBA in years." Meanwhile, Talalay writes joining the Heat likely means Bosh's profile "would be raised." His familiarity is "limited because he's played in Toronto and doesn't have the national stature of James and Wade" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/8). In Miami, Adam Beasley writes interest in the Heat "already has spiked to 2006 levels." Traffic yesterday was "so heavy to the Heat website that some inquiring about season tickets" received an error message reading in part, "Due to an overwhelming demand, we cannot process your request at this time." Team officials "declined to comment Wednesday on ticket interest, but from talk radio to the Internet, anecdotal evidence indicated a newfound enthusiasm among the faithful" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/8).

PAINFUL LOSS: In Toronto, Dave Feschuk writes the Raptors were "gutted by the loss of the latest in a long line of all-stars" with Bosh choosing the Heat, and the "junkyard that is Toronto's sports marketplace got even junkier." Bosh "came off as child-like in his attention-starved exit, frustrating the Raptors by being as uncommunicative as he was indecisive." He "did Toronto zero favours after promising to work together" with Raptors President & GM Bryan Colangelo. But it is Colangelo "who failed to build a contender around Bosh." Feschuk: "It's been grim in Toronto before ... but you can argue it has never been grimmer" (TORONTO STAR, 7/8).

THE THUNDER ROLLS: In Oklahoma City, Darnell Mayberry notes Thunder F Kevin Durant yesterday announced to his over 200,000 followers on Twitter that he "had agreed to a five-year extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City through the 2016 season." Durant's agent, Aaron Goodwin, said that the deal was "originally projected to be between" $85-86M. Durant: "I'm a very loyal person. People say that might hurt me sometimes, but I think it's a great attribute that I have." Mayberry writes by "agreeing to a new deal now, Thunder owners and management demonstrated the high level of commitment they have to the league's newest star." It "didn't take long for the two sides to strike a deal," and the past week was spent "simply fine-tuning the fine print." Mayberry writes, "In what has been billed as 'The Summer of LeBron,' it was Durant who augmented his already ample adulation with the manner in which he delivered his news." Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "As a coach, somebody who follows basketball, what you appreciate is he just sort of did it. There was no big fanfare compared to what's going on with all these free agents. This is a guy who sort of gets on with business." Durant: "I'm just not the guy that always wants to be in the limelight or have my business out there, even though it will be out there sooner or later. I didn't want to go through that. Twitter has been good to me. I have a lot of people that follow me. I know a lot of people wanted to know about the contract, so why not? It was cool" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 7/8). ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wrote under the header, "Durant And Thunder Get It Right." Adande: "No summit, no TV show, no drama. The NBA's top up-and-coming team knows its franchise player won't be going anywhere" (ESPN.com, 7/7).

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