Beginning his 19th season with The HEAT Group and 13th at the helm of the organization as President, Business Operations, Eric Woolworth has made an indelible impression on both the Miami HEAT and AmericanAirlines Arena. His leadership has helped transform the organization and redefine its corporate identity into a customer service and sales-driven machine that is among the elite in the sports and entertainment industry. Under Woolworth’s direction the HEAT has been consistently recognized as an NBA leader in customer service, fan entertainment, marketing, sales, and Arena operations, and has become a recognized leader in the South Florida business community. Working side by side with Pat Riley, Woolworth’s efforts have made the HEAT a first-class organization away from the court as much as it is on it.

The team’s innovative fan-friendly and flexible renewal program complements its very successful and often imitated in-Arena S.M.I.L.E. program aimed at exceeding a guest’s expectations and creating an exciting experience at events. These initiatives have brought a high level of service and value to season ticket holders and guests, as well as a streamlined renewal and playoff payment process while introducing new and exciting benefits for loyal season ticket holders and other lucky fans.

Recognizing the power of database marketing, Woolworth turned the company’s focus toward becoming an early adopter of this technology and quickly capitalized on it. In the past 13 years, the HEAT has compiled one of the richest direct marketing databases in the NBA and has become proficient in utilizing these powerful channels to deliver sales offers and news and continues to lead the NBA in terms of revenue derived from database marketing. The HEAT leverages these assets to support the marketing efforts of its ever-expanding corporate partner base.  

Most recently, the HEAT has become an industry leader in building and exploiting a large and sustainable social media following. With a Facebook fan base of over 8.5 million and a twitter following of 1.7 million, the HEAT Social Media Department is a consistent leader in social media engagement and growth. In 2013, the department won the NBA’s Social Media “Epic Award”—an honor determined solely by fan votes—which designated the March 18, 2013 matchup between the Celtics and the HEAT as their favorite game. In addition, the HEAT won Yahoo’s 2013 “OMG Award” for the team’s rendition of the Harlem Shake dance, which garnered over 30 million You Tube views in less than 72 hours.

Under Woolworth’s guidance, The HEAT Group’s Business Operations Division continues to garner accolades in a variety of disciplines. Success stories for the 2012-13 season include the Season Ticket Services Department once again recording the highest Season Ticket renewal rate in franchise history and one of the highest renewal rates in the NBA; the HEAT Retail Department earning the highest per cap rates in retail sales in the NBA; the HEAT Internet Services Department winning the coveted 2012-13 NBA Web Traffic Award for; and the unveiling of the 12th Miami HEAT Learn and Play Center.

Woolworth has been at the forefront of several major capital improvement projects to the AmericanAirlines Arena, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary on December 31, 2009, including the 3,400 square foot digital media façade, MiamiMediaMesh, one of the largest digital LED displays in the Southeast region of the United States; the multi-million dollar High Definition upgrade of all digital infrastructure at AmericanAirlines Arena; the fully customizable “experience” fans now enjoy as they enter the Arena through the newly renovated Bacardi Grand Entrance—an extensive re-branding project, which includes state-of-the-art digital signage and graphic enhancement tailored to the specific audience of any single event; and the 2012 opening of Hyde AmericanAirlines Arena, a posh and intimate venue offering guests an über-VIP restaurant and nightclub experience.

Woolworth’s efforts have also firmly planted AmericanAirlines Arena on the map of elite venues, hosting such world-class acts as Madonna, Marc Anthony, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, U2, Luis Miguel, Justin Bieber, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, Phish and many others that play before sold-out crowds. The Arena also secured the 2004 and 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, the first two times in the award show’s history it was hosted outside of New York City or Los Angeles. Popular family shows that make annual stops at the Arena include classic favorites Disney On Ice, Wiggles, the Harlem Globetrotters and the RB&BB Circus.

The AmericanAirlines Arena is also a celebrated leader in the facilities industry due to Woolworth’s leadership. In both 2012 and 2013, Pollstar named the Arena the #1 arena in Florida and among the top 10 in the United States. And in 2013, the Arena won the prestigious 2013 Facility of Merit award presented by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security for demonstrating an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security.

Woolworth’s primary responsibility consists of directing and overseeing all non-basketball aspects of the organization from Marketing and Community Affairs to Sales and Service, Human Resources, Merchandising, Finance, Event and Arena Operations, and more. His efforts have created a professional cutting edge atmosphere for both the employees and the customers.

Woolworth steadily climbed the ranks of The HEAT Group after first joining the HEAT as General Counsel in 1995 and a successful legal career in Washington, D.C. His business acumen and key role in the development of the AmericanAirlines Arena led to his promotion to President, Business Operations in January of 2001. He had served as interim President from August of 2000 to January of 2001.

Woolworth is a cum laude graduate of both Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center. He lives with his wife, Jocelyn, their son, Jackson, and their daughter, Cassidy, in Coral Gables. They generously spend their time and resources to assist the community, donating time to several charitable organizations including serving on the Boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Children’s Craniofacial Association at Miami Children’s Hospital.