• Search by team or stadium name:

Buy the latest issue of Stadium Journey Magazine - Subscribe Today!

Stadium Journey Sports Magazine Subscriptions

AmericanAirlines Arena

Miami, FL

Home of the Miami Heat

4.3

4.2

AmericanAirlines Arena (map it)
601 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132


Miami Heat website

AmericanAirlines Arena website

Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 19,600

There are no tickets available at this time.

Reviews

Local Information

Share
this

The Heat Is On

The Miami Heat may not have LeBron James in the building anymore, but their fans have not left the team for greener pastures. Known as a tough town for sports teams, Miami fans are fickle, but thankfully a solid performance of late has led Miami to a playoff-bound feel. This means more fans and more wins. However, despite the record, going to the American Airlines Arena is a different feel than most other basketball facilities.

4.3

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    5

If you want the true flavor of Miami, the AAA has it. Mixed in with the traditional burger, fries, hot dogs, and pizza is a wonderful amalgam of Latin fixtures and international specialties. Suite-level boxes showcase freshly-made paella. Concession stands in general admission areas also offer Cuban sandwiches alongside pork sliders and fruity juice mixes to drink. Prices are reasonable for a sports team, with a meal and a drink ranging around the $10-$15 a person range. In addition, there are offerings for Jewish fans in special kosher offerings and on game nights (and even concerts and events at the arena), the team and arena's social media pages will show you the special offerings of the night at different locations.

Atmosphere    5

The American Airlines Arena really captures the Miami feel. From the fresh beats of local DJs (including frequent appearances by DJ Irie) spinning up great music to get excited about, to the best announcer in the NBA in Michael Biamonte, the fans "Staaaaaaaand up" and "Make some nooooooise" for their Miami Heat. During player intros, giant flame throwers light up the darkness as the starters are announced. A well-edited hype video plays to get everyone ready for the game. The Miami Heat dance team, voted four times as the NBA's best dance team, are also entertaining with their performances. In addition, the Golden Oldies (think Heat dancers, but with senior citizens) are always one of the biggest attractions for fans, drawing oohs and ahh's with plenty of laughs as well.

The fans get the chants going, especially during close games or exciting runs in the game. The decor is a mix of unfinished and exposed concrete, as well as artistic expression for flair. It seems like the place isn't quite done evolving, much like the city of Miami feels on a constant basis.

Neighborhood    3

The AAA is in the heart of Miami. Located right on the water's edge of Biscayne Bay, literally across the street from Bayside shopping market. Here, fans can find a great array of shopping and dining options that are great both before the game and late into the night afterwards.

The downtown financial district is a five-minute walk away, and South Beach is just a causeway's drive across the bay from the arena. However, the downsides are evident outside.

Miami's sidewalks aren't exactly pristine and clean, and the city's skid row exists right outside the arena along one of the streets most fans walk through on their way out of the games to the parking lots located nearby. There is also a lot of construction next door at Museum Park, where an art museum is located alongside the future science museum.

Finding somewhere to stay isn't hard, as there are various hotels located around the arena and within driving distance. There are lots of high-end resorts close on South Beach, and the Intercontinental also serves as a high-end option right in downtown. There is also a Holiday Inn steps away from the arena on the other side of Biscayne Boulevard.

Fans    5

Miami Heat fans are loud, opinionated, and represent Miami in every way. They love their hometown heroes and big stars alike. They make it known when they're not happy at the ref's call, and they know how to party when a big shot goes in. Yet despite their wild and crazy ways, the games always feel family friendly. There are signs all around the arena, as well as loudspeaker announcements notifying fans to report unruly behavior anonymously. This gives attendees the sense of safety for their young ones who have come to watch the Heat play.

Access    3

This is where the Miami Heat suffer their biggest setback. Getting to the AAA is not inherently difficult. Whether coming down I-95 from the north or on the 836 from elsewhere, downtown Miami is hard to miss. Figuring out where to get off, however, is not easy. The main exit on the 836 heading east that leads to the American Airlines Arena is on the left side of the highway, a rarity in South Florida. That said, with the massive lack of signage for fans to follow, those (like myself) may find themselves taking the tunnel to PortMiami, only to have to turn back around and take the tunnel back out and exit near the Arscht Center opera and ballet house, or cross back over the bridge from the Port that exits next to the arena.

Parking is rough when attending a Miami Heat game, as most open spaces downtown will cost you at least $20-$50, depending upon how close you park. You may be able to snag a spot for $20 one block from the main entrance, or it may cost you way more, depending on supply and demand.

If you live to the south or north, you can take the Metrorail to the Metromover, which will drop you off mere blocks from the arena. In addition, park and ride lots make it easier if you want to skip a bus ride and go right to the metro rail on the south end at Dadeland Station.

Return on Investment    4

Going to a Miami Heat game isn't exactly cheap, as the law of supply and demand makes the team's tickets among some of the most expensive in South Florida sports. However, the show you get on the court is usually among the best in sports in South Florida as well. If you are a big sports fan or an NBA junkie, you have to make a trip to the AAA, however, as it is definitely a must-see in the sports world.

Extras    5

The Heat have no shortage of giveaways, as they provide fans plenty of incentives to come to specific games through t-shirt, magnet, and bobblehead nights.

The Miami Heat also participate annually in the Noche Latina celebration, where the team wear "El Heat" jerseys and the performers are all of Hispanic origin in celebration of Hispanic history.

Another neat aspect that debuted in 2015-16 are the various NanoLumens displays outside on the patio. These displays keep fans updated on what is happening inside the arena during the game, so you won't miss any of the action, should you need a drink or something to eat during game play.

One of the cooler ways the Heat have honored their best is by hanging a championship banner for both their conference and NBA titles alongside banners for players who won Olympic medals with the USA National Team (Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway gold in 2000, Dwyane Wade gold in 2008, LeBron James gold in 2012). It gives a feel of international pride in the Miami Heat's brand and history.

Celebrity sightings are not uncommon at Heat games, as the likes of Gloria Estefan, David Beckham, Anna Kournikova, and others have been known to be seen courtside in the Heat's house.

Finally, upon occasion, fans may be eligible to go on the court for post-game free throws depending on special ticket packages they can purchase, which is definitely a memory that will not go away soon.

Final Thoughts

There are few sports facilities in South Florida that have the passion, unique atmosphere, and quality that the American Airlines Arena has. Its fans are second to none, and the feel you get there matches that of the South Beach party vibe that Miami is known for.

Anyone out there with season tickets, or plans to see the Heat in their new arena? Can\'t wait to he

Anyone out there with season tickets, or plans to see the Heat in their new arena? Can't wait to hear reports of the energy in the home court when the big 3 begin regular season play...

by paul | Oct 13, 2010 01:13 AM

champions

That best!!! Enough said

by biggdex | Feb 27, 2012 04:48 PM

You must be a Stadium Journey member to post a comment.

Already a member? Sign in or Create a Stadium Journey Account

-- OR --

Crowd Reviews

Nine Magic Words

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

"I'm going to take my talents to South Beach."

Never before in sports history have nine words had such a profound effect on a franchise. On July 8, 2010, in front of a national television audience, free-agent phenom LeBron James uttered those nine life-changing words. He instantly became the most polarizing force in all of sport, and changed the perception of the Miami Heat forever.

The Heat are not a franchise that have been around that long. An expansion team in 1988 along with the former Charlotte Hornets, the Heat have seen success in their limited time in the NBA. Currently owned by heir to the Carnival Cruise Line empire, Micky Arison, the Heat have always been driven by star power, and have a 2006 NBA Champion banner to show for their efforts.

Success with the Heat has always been linked with the amount of star power, and if you think about it, the Heat fits Miami's personality: glitzy, showy, glamorous - all about the optics. Star power has shown itself in many ways, whether it was bringing in a flashy coach or executive like Pat Riley, growing their own star like Dwayne Wade, making a big trade for a star like Shaquille O'Neal, or a big glitzy, fog machine enhanced free-agent signing like Chris Bosh and LeBron James. The Heat fit Miami like a custom-made glove.

The Heat show off their glitz and glamor at the AmericanAirlines Arena, or Triple- A to the locals. Opening in 1999, the AAA is fairly unique in that it only houses an NBA team while the local NHL team, the Florida Panthers, play in a different venue all together. (Other similar situations include the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons; Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves; and Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Coyotes). Although this is not typically a great recipe for success for either the teams or the counties that usually own the buildings, the Heat have continued in this fashion, and would arguably be more of a financial success than their cross-county hockey brothers. The Triple-A is owned by a local board known as the Miami Sports and Entertainment Authority, and do not charge the Heat to use the building.

When Seeing the Heat, Eats are the Treat

Total Score: 4.14

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

American Airlines Arena features 14 general concessions and 28 portable carts. There is no shortage of variety either. The concessions feature all the arena classics, but it's the portable carts that offer an exceptionally wide variety. There's stir fry, Latin and Mexican, sandwiches, arepas, tacos, kebabs, sushi, cinnamon buns, frozen lemonade, and fresh baked cookies among others. The concession prices are standard, but the specialty items are a bit costly- $12-$15 a plate. Overall, food pricing is average if you are looking for something simple, but are high if you're looking for something more.

A Near Perfect NBA Experience

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

This review is NOT biased. American Airlines Arena is arguably the best stadium I have EVER been to. The Atmosphere was incredible, though the fact the game went into double overtime contributed a lot. Biscayne Bay is located right aganist the arena, so it is a absolutely gorgeous setting. The best part, though, was the FANS. From the Starting introduction, they were into the game the whole time, despite that Heat fans have a bad reputation. Not only that, but the building has seen some history too (Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals happened here). The Heat lost to the Timberwolves in the game I went to. But no matter if it's a win or loss, it is a awesome experience.

Share your thoughts about AmericanAirlines Arena

Local Food & Drink

Los Ranchos Steakhouse  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 375-8188

http://www.beststeakinmiami.com/

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 379-8866

http://www.bubbagump.com/locations/miami/

Hooters of Miami - Bayside  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 371-3004

http://www.hootersflorida.com/

Largo Seafood & Grill  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 374-9559

Tradewinds Waterfront Bar & Grill  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 416-6944

http://www.tradewindsbarandgrill.com/

Hard Rock Cafe  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 377-3110

http://www.hardrock.com/

Chili's Bayside Miami  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 373-0601

http://www.chilis.com/

Local Entertainment

Island Queen Cruises  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 379-5119

http://www.islandqueencruises.com/

Bayside Marketplace  (map it!)

401 Biscayne Blvd

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 577-3344

http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/

Miami Children's Museum  (map it!)

980 MacArthur Causeway

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 373-KIDS

http://www.miamichildrensmuseum.org/

Jungle Island  (map it!)

1111 Parrot Jungle Trl

Miami, FL 33132

(305) 400-7000

http://www.jungleisland.com/index.cfm

Lodging

w

© 2016 Stadium Journey