As the Miami Heat look to close out their second-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night, their 2013 postseason run is already paying off for the local economy.
Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Bill Talbert says the Heat dominated the top 15 cable shows last week.
"The Miami Heat number one. The Miami Heat and the Bulls, I guess, number 2,” he said. “And number 5 the Miami Heat.”
That’s airtime he just can't buy.
"It's two full months of free infomercials for Miami. Those beauty shots they show, those cutaways, whether it’s downtown, AmericanAirlines Arena, right on the bay, South Beach,” Talbert said, calling the spots priceless.
The playoffs create jobs that are otherwise not out there, he added.
Out-of-towners want to see the Heat beat, local fanatics want the win, and it all adds up to millions for the Miami economy.
The hotels are booming and so are favorite hot spots.
"We're not normally as busy on weeknights, which is why it's great that these playoff games are happening on weeknights, and we're really experiencing some good business during those time frames as well,” said Anna Whitlow of The Clevelander on Ocean Drive.
She loves the tourists and Bulls fans, but said the playoff draw is bigger than that.
"We have locals who come here who aren’t normally coming to Ocean Drive, and we're happy to have them,” Whitlow said.
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