How The Heat Stay Hot In Miami

What: The Miami Heat's manager of corporate partnership sales, Anthony Perez, talked to Portada about the NBA culture in the area.
Why it matters: The Heat have a tremendous reach into Hispanic homes in South Florida, making partners' efforts to gain market share there fruitful.

The Miami Heat’s season may have come to an end with an opening round loss to the Philadelphia 76ers this week, but that doesn’t mean that their fan engagement ends. As we learned at Portada Miami, the growing and affluent Latino audience is really becoming the new business lifeblood of sports in South Florida. We asked Anthony Perez, Manager, Corporate Partnership Sales for the Heat (who joined us at Portada Miami) to give us a little more insight into the NBA culture in South Beach as the offseason starts.

Portada: How vital is the Latino market in South Florida to the Heat business success?

Anthony Perez: "With such a large Hispanic presence in South Florida we’ve seen that our fan base tends to mirror that locally. In fact, close to 60% of guests who attend HEAT games are Hispanic, so it’s naturally a very crucial part of our business and something that we appreciate and regularly embrace. We have an incredible reach into the homes of the Hispanic community through our Spanish radio broadcasts on Radio Mambi 710 AM and Mix 98.3 FM and via the SAP channel available on our TV broadcast and the Miami HEAT App."

We believe HEAT Culture, which is primarily about putting in the hard work behind the scenes, being selfless teammates and making the team priority number one, transcends ethnicity.

Portada: Are there key partners who engage just in that demo and if so, who are they?

A.P.: "Our large Hispanic base attracts partners that are making a conscious effort to gain market share within the Hispanic community while also looking to penetrate the general market. Some of the brands who do this best are American Airlines, Kia, Goya, Popular Bank, Café Bustelo, Cubavera, and Pepsi."

Portada: "Miami provides a gateway to all of Latin America, how do the Heat take advantage of that from a business perspective?"

A.P.: "While Miami is home to a select number of corporate headquarters it’s more common to see companies establish a LATAM corporate office here. This allows us to work with them in a marketing capacity where we’re speaking to the LATAM consumer or with hospitality programs by entertaining their guests at AmericanAirlines Arena."

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Anthony Perez

Portada: There is a growing young Latino market that is English speaking but still embraces its culture. Are there ways to take advantage of that marketplace?

A.P.: "Yes, we work hard to engage the Hispanic youth of South Florida who have grown up playing basketball and being HEAT fans. We strive to seamlessly incorporate Latin culture into our game presentation with elements like the “Dos Minutos” call each quarter, the Miami HEAT Rhythm Section, the Bongo Cam (which other teams have picked up on) and our proliferation of Latin music during power time outs and dance routines.  Additionally, through our involvement with La Liga Contra el Cancer, the Kiwanis of Little Havana and a local youth Basketball League, our hope is that the youth will continue to support the HEAT as they eventually raise their own families in South Florida."

Portada: The Heat have never really had a breakout Latino star on the court, does that impact the business side at all?

A.P.: "We believe HEAT Culture, which is primarily about putting in the hard work behind the scenes, being selfless teammates and making the team priority number one, transcends ethnicity."


Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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