International home buyers are attracted to Miami for its weather, resort lifestyle, cultural institutions, name-brand shopping, nightlife and more. Major professional sports is another allure.
International home buyers want world-class entertainment, and Miami’s three major sports squads are providing it in new or relatively new venues. The NBA’s Miami Heat, Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins and NFL’s Miami Dolphins have each won championships and gained international recognition.
Major professional sports do more for a city than just instill civic pride. Sports brand a city globally, attract new residents and fuel commercial investment. Take the story of the 2012 and 2013 LeBron James-led Miami Heat NBA championship teams.
The “Big Three” (LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh) shined the already hot spotlight even brighter on Miami. The Heat’s run to four consecutive NBA Finals led to more TV coverage and more exposure. Miami’s breathtaking skyline and beaches were shown nightly during games. Those same shots aired in many international countries, including China, as the NBA is America’s most global game.
The Heat sold out every game during LeBron’s run, but a more impressive feat happened outside of American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami. The economic impact of the Miami Heat and the area totaled $1.4 billion a year, according to a Miami Downtown Development Authority study.
Downtown Miami’s resurgence was underway when LeBron signed with Miami in 2010, but his success helped encourage residents, business owners and developers to relocate or do more business in Miami.
Today, Downtown Miami has more than doubled its population to 80,000 in the last decade. Realtor.com named Downtown Miami as the nation’s fourth-fastest growing neighborhood. Downtown cultural institutions like the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the Perez Art Museum are attracting new residents and businesses.
Downtown now features more than 392 restaurants and bars and improved public transit. All Aboard Florida, a new Downtown Miami-to-Orlando passenger train, is being built and will include 163,000 square feet of commercial and retail space in downtown. The $1.05 billion Brickell City Centre, which opened recently, and the $1.7 billion Miami Worldcenter have arrived or are on their way.
Launched in 1966, the Dolphins are Miami’s oldest and longest-running major professional sports franchise.
No pro football club in history has ever moved from expansion team to Super Bowl champion like the Dolphins. In their sixth season, Miami became the only NFL team to ever record a perfect season.
The Dolphins went 17-0-0 to win Super Bowl VII in 1972. The Dolphins also won Super Bowl VIII. Their combined 1972-73 record was 32-2, an all-time mark.
Fan support was strong. In 1973, the Dolphins established an NFL record with 74,961 season ticket sales. Miami has made the playoffs since, but haven’t won another Super Bowl championship.
Today, the Dolphins play in state-of-the-art Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Owner Stephen Ross spent roughly a half billion dollars to modernize the stadium last year. The improvements included a $250 million shaded canopy. The Dolphins’ home stadium has hosted five Super Bowls, America’s most-watched sporting event. Miami will host another Super Bowl in 2020, the NFL announced.
Hard Rock Stadium isn’t just for football. The Brazil men’s national team will play a series of matches at Hard Rock; Real Madrid will visit the stadium in 2017. The stadium is also Miami-Dade County’s only true outdoor concert venue. The stadium plans to host major music festivals and more.
As mentioned above, the Heat have passionate fans around the globe and three NBA titles.
Launched in 1988, the Heat have a long-term lease at the American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami. The arena hosted the 1990 NBA All-Star Game.
The Marlins, who began playing in 1993, are a two-time World Series champion.
In 1997, the Marlins became the first wild-card team to win the Series, in only their fifth season. In 2003, the Florida Marlins shocked the world by defeating the New York Yankees four games to two.
For the first 19 years of its existence, the team played its home games at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. In 2012, it moved into the newly-constructed Marlins Park in Miami’s Little Havana.
Marlins Park is a state-of-the-art, indoor park. Like Hard Rock, Marlins Park is used for many events such as high school graduations, concerts, international soccer matches, college bowl games and car races.
Marlins Park will be the site of a major international sporting event this summer when the Marlins host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It’s the first time the franchise has hosted the Midsummer Classic, which garners more than 8.7 million TV viewers.
Major League Soccer coming to Miami?
Legendary soccer player and global icon David Beckham is planning to build a new, 25,000-seat Miami stadium for a new Major League Soccer expansion team. Multiple reports say the team may begin playing in 2019.
Soccer, of course, is the world’s most popular sport. According to FIFA’s most recent Big Count survey, there are 265 million players actively involved in soccer around the world, roughly about 4 percent of the world’s population.
Soccer is a perfect fit for South Florida as the region is an international melting pot with many residents coming from countries where fùtbol is a national passion. In addition to its diverse community, South Florida has direct access to Europe and Latin America and annually ranks among the highest rates of TV soccer viewership in the United States.