July 22, 2010
Before LeBron James(notes) signed with the Miami Heat, the NBA audience was treated to study after study, blog post after blog post, and article after article about how much LeBron would be worth to whatever city he played in. Estimated economic impact ranged from a ton of money to several tons of money, depending on who was offering the numbers. And while the majority of that money would come from ticket sales, there were still several other profitable avenues to explore.
Smartly, the Miami area isn't even waiting for the Superfriends to suit up before it cashes in. Check out some of the Heat-themed promotional items the Associated Press uncovered.
• The LeBron Burger (OneBurger in Coral Gables, Fla.): "It starts with Kobe beef (a nod to Los Angeles Lakers' star Kobe Bryant(notes), the leader of the two-time reigning NBA champions), with Swiss cheese, an onion ring (think championship ring) and jalapenos (for heat, er, the Heat)." Price unknown.
• The "LeBroyal Treatment" (Seven Seas Aveda Spa & Salon at the Newport Beachside Hotel): "A collection of six items, an homage to James' new jersey. It features a massage, manicure, personal training session, jet-ski rental, gift package and to top it off, a six-pack of beer." $149.
• The "Heat Suite" (The Gansevoort Hotel in Miami Beach): "[Includes] a rental of a Ferrari F430, private cabana access, some of James' favorite snacks and an iPod with his favorite tunes." $2,500 a night.
Furthermore, the Hotel Victor is giving its penthouse — a $10,000 a night value — to one of its Facebook fans for $163, a nod to James, Dwyane Wade(notes) and Chris Bosh's(notes) jersey numbers. Hotels such as Miami's EPIC hotel will be offering discounts to season-ticket holders. Oh, and Miami's Mandarin Oriental hotel is having "Live Like LeBron" weekends, that feature cookies shaped like basketballs, which are hopefully not part of any "Laces Out, Dan"-esque situation.
Naturally, Cleveland has its own LeBron-centric ecomony. Among its products are Quitness Ale, an intentionally bitter beer, and a jersey drop-off program that allows spurned Clevelanders a chance to give away their old James jerseys, which will then be transported to a homeless shelter in Miami. Great program, but it sounds like there is going to be an army of Cleveland Cavaliers-clad LeBron Jameses roaming the streets of Miami, which could be a little awkward.
With so many new Heat fans out there, let's hope one smart fellow buys his bride-to-be a nice weekend getaway to Miami. What woman wouldn't love to stay in the "Heat Suite" and get the "LeBroyal Treatment?" Heck, what human wouldn't love that? 'Tis truly the epitome of luxury.
(h/t Marcel Mutoni)