June 21, 3:23 pm: There have been multiple denials that there are any talks going on between the Heat and Fox Sports.
One source reached out to PBT saying there have been no discussions as suggested in the Forbes article (seen below). Later came this official statement from Fox Sports.
“There’s no truth to that report whatsoever,” said Chris Bellitti, Vice President of Communications for the Fox Sports Network. “We are in the middle of a long-term deal with the Heat that has several years remaining.”
If the Heat still have LeBron James, and maybe a ring or two, when the deal is up it certainly will drive up the price of a deal. But that is then.
June 20, 11:39 pm: Miami has been a key reason for a spike in NBA television ratings the past couple years — love them or hate them, you tune in to watch them.
Now they are about to reap the benefits of that, according to Forbes.
The Miami Heat are involved in discussions for a blockbuster cable television deal that experts say are being enhanced by the long-term contract the team has with reigning league MVP LeBron James and its run towards a second NBA title.
Sources familiar with the negotiations, but who do not have permission to speak about them publicly, peg the value of the long-term deal between $80 million to $100 a year with Fox Sports Florida. Although the Heat’s new deal will only be about half the amount Los Angeles Lakers are going to get from Time Warner Cable, it will still generate at least over four times the revenue the team currently rakes in.
The Heat actually draw a higher percentage of local viewers than the Lakers, but the Lakers television market is more than triple the size of Miami (which is just the 14th largest NBA market). However, the basic idea is the same — the team is a draw and both teams have some competition in the local cable markets.
Under the terms of the new NBA revenue sharing deal (put together with the new CBA) Heat owner Micky Arison is going go be coughing up some of that money for smaller markets. They must revenue share part of local television deal with smaller markets.
But they still pull in more money. And that is why big contracts like the one LeBron and everyone else makes can pay for themselves.