- President, Business Operations
Beginning his 23rd season with The HEAT Group and 17th 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.
Under Woolworth’s leadership, The HEAT Group has championed and implemented ELEVATE, an NBA initiative designed to improve the customer experience by striving for excellence at every level of the business. During the 2016-17 season, The HEAT Group achieved the highest overall satisfaction rating among teams participating in the ELEVATE initiative.
Woolworth has been instrumental in recognizing and harnessing the power of business intelligence. The franchise has spent the past five years building a robust business intelligence team and processes, and has mandated the use and analysis of data in every functional area of the business to help improve results, performance, and customer relationship management.
Recently, Woolworth has redirected the franchise’s focus to mobile-centric technology by re-launching a newly designed and vastly improved 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. The HEAT will transition to mobile only entry for fans during the 2017-18 season at AmericanAirlines Arena, the first NBA team to do so.
Under Woolworth’s guidance, The HEAT Group’s Business Operations Division continues to garner accolades in a variety of disciplines. Success stories for the 2016-17 season include the Season Ticket Services Department recording one of the highest Season Ticket renewal rate in franchise history and one of the highest renewal rates in the NBA and the unveiling of the 17th Miami HEAT Learn and Play Center. Additionally, with a Facebook fan base of 15.9 million, a twitter following of 4.4 million and 2.9 million Instagram followers, the HEAT Social Media Department is a consistent leader in social media engagement and growth.
Other recent accolades include:
- May 2017: Clio Sports Awards for 2017—a gold statue for “Integrated Campaign” for its Home Strong campaign and a bronze statue for “Public Relations” for its first-ever HEAT Loud and Proud Event.
- May 2017: The Webby Award for Sports Apps for content, navigation and visual design of its innovative Miami HEAT app by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
- October 2016: In-HOWse Design Merit Award in the medium of design for the 2015-16 season’s alternate uniform campaign, Throwback HEAT Charged by Mountain Dew.
- July 2016: Silver Clio Sports Award in the medium of design for the 2015-16 season’s alternate uniform campaign, Throwback HEAT Charged by Mountain Dew.
- June 2016: HEAT named first-ever Environmental Innovators of the Year (NBA Category) by the Green Sports Alliance.
- January 2016: AmericanAirlines Arena awarded LEED Gold Recertification by the U.S. Green Building Council—the first sports and entertainment facility in the world to achieve that honor.
Woolworth has been at the forefront of several major capital improvement projects to the AmericanAirlines Arena, including the January 2017 unveiling of 601, the facility’s newest waterfront dining destination and event venue. The 11,500 square foot, multi-level space, located on the Southeast corner of the Arena, has been completely renovated and offers a panoramic view of Biscayne Bay and Miami’s iconic skyline.
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, Paul McCartney, 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, climbed to #4 (previously #7) in the United States, while placing 15th in the world according to Pollstar’s 2016 year-end rankings of the world’s top arenas.
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.