My visit to American Airlines Arena was an experience within an experience.
It was during the week of Christmas and I was off for the week. Since I didn’t want to spend an entire week without anything to do until Christmas Day, I searched for any basketball games going on during the week. While searching, I came across the Miami Heat hosting the Detroit Pistons the next evening.
With Miami being a 10 hour drive from my location and the game within 18 hours, I had to pack, get some sleep and hit the road. I purchased my game tickets and hotel while on a gas stop in Jacksonville, FL.
Here are my thoughts on American Airlines Arena.
The location of American Airlines Arena is right out of a television show or a movie scene. It is located on Biscayne Blvd where you are in walking distance of numerous restaurants and the Biscayne Bay. They Bayside Marketplace will provide the most variety with walking distance of American Airlines Arena.
Miami is a vacation destination that caters to all families so it is very family friendly. They have a lot of attractions for families surrounding the venue as well. If you are going to a game you should arrive several hours before the game to enjoy the surrounding amenities.
The atmosphere inside of American Airlines Arena is very exciting. The arena crew make sure they keep the fans attentive and into the action. The flame themed player introductions is something that I found exciting although it caught me off guard.
They also pay respect to their history inside of the arena. They have their Division, Eastern Conference and NBA championship banners on display. They also have the retired jerseys hanging for Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal. They also have USA Olympic banners for Mourning, Hardaway, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. The other banners and jerseys that stood out to me were the jerseys of Michael Jordan and Dan Marino and the banner for Marc Anthony.
The fan attendance was not what I expected to see for such an amazing location. There was not a lot of people in attendance for the game but after talking to some fans near me they mentioned that after LeBron left the championship ambitions were over and the sold out crowds were as well.
The concession prices were rather expensive compared to other stadiums and arenas I have attended. They have an enormous selection of concession on each level but the prices are not family friendly. They also open the arena later than any other venue I have attended. Most venues start opening the doors at least 90 to 120 minutes before the game but they didn’t open up until roughly 60 minutes before tip-off.
Overall Game Day Experience
I would give American Airlines Arena an 8 out of 10. The neighborhood surrounding the arena and the atmosphere provided by the staff makes attending American Airlines Arena a true event. The ticket and concession prices are higher than other venues. The fan support is not overwhelming but the in-game entertainment picks up where that fails.
If you’re vacationing in the Miami area a trip to American Airlines Arena should be considered. The experience is one that you will not forget and something that a sports fan will appreciate.