Step Inside: Kaseya Center
Oct 11, 2022
Opened on New Year’s Eve in 1999, the Kaseya Center serves as the centerpiece of downtown Miami’s waterfront region. Home of the NBA’s Miami Heat, Kaseya Center is formerly known as the AmericanAirlines Arena and before that, 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 arena’s signature features is the American Airlines airplane and logo emblazoned on the roof, remnants of the previous sponsor, and 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 Funnily enough, the AA logo is outdated, as American Airlines changed their branding in 2013 and the company was replaced as the building’s sponsor in 2021..
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 Kaseya Center, the crowd has been known to get uproariously loud for their squad’s players, particularly in past seasons 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 Kaseya Center, 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.
If you manage to navigate downtown Miami traffic in time to make it to Kaseya Center, 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.
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 specialty cocktails 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 Kaseya Center does not disappoint.
The Heat may call the Kaseya Center 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 Kaseya Center 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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