Posted by Matt Moore
The entire move was bungled. Let's be clear. There were ways to orchestrate the formation of the new NBA superpower that would not only have lessened the devastating PR hit and public resentment, but actually sold the public and media on these players as heroes. After all, it's not like the public is generally poised to reject its favorite athletes over ownership, particularly those athletes that sacrifice money and spotlight time in the pursuit of a championship.
But that's not how it went down. Instead, a public revulsion that is deafening in its retch has spread throughout the land. The Miami Heat have built themselves a new empire, one that is being regarded with terms like "evil," "pompous," and "classless." So surely, where the opinion goes, the dollar goes, right? The money is probably flowing away from South Beach like rats from the sinking ship.
Yeah, so, it turns out, that's not really what's going on. Kind of the opposite, actually. And by kind of, I mean completely.
Reuters brings us an interview with Michael McCullough, the Heat's chief marketing officer. In it, McCullough doesn't deny the existence of a villain's image in the media and among vocal fans. But by hook or by crook, the results are leading to the only thing businesses carry about, the allmighty dollar. McCullough claims that the Heat are now number one in retail sales and that LeBron James' new No.6 jersey is tops in the league. The numbers released last month back up that assessment.
There's also been a lot of talk about tickets for the Heat on the road skyrocketing in preliminary orders, as well as the hyper-covered sell-out of the Heat season tickets (and their release of the ticket sales staff ).
So while people gnash their teeth about how this all went down (and no one thinks it went down well), the bottom line is still coming up Heat. We tend to act like there will be some sort of populist rejection of the Heat because of how arrogance they've come off in public. But already, the sheer starpower has helped build the Heat into a financial supermachine. A few championships, and all the talk about the Big 3's tarnished legacies will be reformed into praise for their sacrifice. We like winners, and we're not particularly stuck on how those wins are made.
No one wants to see how the sausage is made. But the Heat ground out their team on national television, and people are still flocking to stores to buy it.