- President, Business Operations
ERIC S. WOOLWORTH
Beginning his 21st season with The HEAT Group and 15th 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 every guest’s expectations. 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.
Under Woolworth’s leadership, The HEAT Group has championed and implemented ELEVATE, a league-wide initiative designed to improve the customer experience by striving for excellence at every level of the business. During the 2014-15 season, The HEAT Group achieved the third-highest overall satisfaction rating among all NBA teams.
Woolworth has been instrumental in recognizing and harnessing the power of database marketing. In the past 15 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.
Most recently, Woolworth has redirected the franchise’s focus to mobile-centric technology by launching a cutting-edge Miami HEAT Mobile App. The App’s primary features—Mobile Wallet and Mobile Ticketing—create a seamless, paperless platform, which customizes and further enhances the fan’s in-arena experience.
Under Woolworth’s guidance, The HEAT Group’s Business Operations Division continues to garner accolades in a variety of disciplines. Success stories for the 2014-15 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 their fifth NBA Retailer of the Year award as well as recording the highest per cap rates in retail sales in the NBA; and the unveiling of the 15th Miami HEAT Learn and Play Center. Additionally, with a Facebook fan base of over 16 million, a twitter following of 3.13 million and 1.8 million Instagram followers, the HEAT Social Media Department is a consistent leader in social media engagement and growth.
In January 2015, AmericanAirlines Arena was awarded LEED Gold Recertification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)—the first sports and entertainment facility in the world to achieve the prestigious honor. LEED is USGBC’s leading rating system for designing, constructing and operating the greenest, most energy-efficient, and highest performing buildings. Additionally, through a multi-year partnership with NRG Energy, AmericanAirlines Arena will unveil a tailor-made renewable energy solar pavilion on the east side of the facility in the Fall of 2015.
Woolworth has been at the forefront of several major capital improvement projects to the AmericanAirlines Arena, 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, 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, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, U2, Luis Miguel, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Phish, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, One Direction, Justin Timberlake, Coldplay 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, 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. The Arena maintained its ticket ranking as the #1 arena in Florida and finished in the top 11 arenas in the United States, while placing 18th in the world according to Billboard’s “2014 Worldwide Top 200.”
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.