Step Inside: AmericanAirlines Arena
Step inside AmericanAirlines Arena – accessible to the most bustling areas of Magic City and home of the Miami Heat.
Opened on New Year’s Eve in 1999, the American Airlines Arena serves as the centerpiece of downtown Miami’s waterfront region. The Triple A, as it’s known locally, is the home of the NBA’s Miami Heat, following the team’s inaugural tenure at the Miami Arena.
The arena has cohosted five NBA Finals since its opening, with the Heat coming out victorious in three of those matchups (2006, 2012, and 2013).
One of the Triple A’s signature features is the American Airlines airplane and logo emblazoned on the roof, which is frequently shown on TV broadcasts and can be seen by air traffic to and from Miami International Airport. Funnily enough, the AA logo is outdated, as American Airlines changed their branding in 2013.
While Heat fans get flack for arriving late to games (and for the infamous moment where some supporters left the classic Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals a bit too early – the Heat ended up winning in overtime), the fanbase in Miami is as passionate as they come. Inside the Triple A, the crowd gets uproariously loud for their squad’s players, particularly for their hometown legend Udonis Haslem and, of course, the adopted king of Wade County, Dwyane Wade.
The most fun happens at the end of each quarter, when Heat announcer Michael Baiamonte yells out his iconic phrase with 120 seconds left: “Twoooo minutes… DOSSSSS…” followed by a roaring “MINUTOS!” from the crowd. It’s a wink at Miami’s large Latinx population, but the call-and-response has become an iconic element of watching a game at the arena.
Introduced during the 2017-’18 season, the Heat’s Vice Nights jerseys are all the rage in the NBA, typically selling out in minutes when the team restocks them. The look, which mirrors the neon pastels of 1980s South Beach, has become an instant classic, and on any given night at the Triple A, you can spot hundreds of fans rocking the black, pink, and teal swag.
You can also get your own merch at the arena, as they’ve started stocking more in-house at the Heat Store, which opens an hour before every game. It’s not just jerseys, either; there are hats, jackets, socks, and even a skateboard, all with that vibrant Miami flavor.
Things To Do at AmericanAirlines Arena
If you manage to navigate downtown Miami traffic in time to make it to the Triple A early, there are plenty of things to do before tip-off. You can take advantage of the team’s Get Close to the HEAT program, which allows fans to get up close and personal with the players during warm-ups; it’s pretty fun to watch Dwyane Wade practice his befuddling pump fakes from just a few yards away.
You can also go to the upper concourse, which features a breathtaking vista of the Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami; this is particularly recommended for day games, when the visibility can open up to allow fans to see clearly all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of the most Instagrammed spots in the arena, and for good reason.
Finally, if you’re feeling fancy, the HYDE Night Club inside the arena takes a step up from the typical “sports bar” feeling of in-stadium establishments, featuring cocktails specifically designed for the Triple A and a private dining room that is bookable for events. It wouldn’t be Miami without the nightlife experience, and luckily for fans who want to turn up, the American Airlines Arena does not disappoint.
AmericanAirlines Arena Concerts and Events
The Heat may call the Triple A home, but the arena also hosts a multitude of other events. Its concert lineup has featured luminaries such as Rihanna, Adele, Maroon 5, Shakira, and Ariana Grande. Appropriately, the arena’s official inauguration was a concert by the Queen of Miami, Gloria Estefan.
Aside from concerts, the American Airlines Arena has also hosted notable WWE events, the first-ever UFC event in Florida, and the annual Hoophall Miami Invitational – a showcase for Division 1 college basketball in partnership with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
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