- President, Business Operations
Beginning his 22nd season with The HEAT Group and 16th 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 2015-16 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 database marketing. In the past 16 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.
Last season, Woolworth 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 2015-16 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; the HEAT Retail Department earning the NBA’s “In-Arena Per Cap Award” for the fifth time and the “Full Nelson Award” for the second time as well as title of six-time winner of the NBA Retailer of the Year award; and the unveiling of the 16th Miami HEAT Learn and Play Center. Additionally, with a Facebook fan base of 16.2 million, a twitter following of 3.5 million and 2.7 million Instagram followers, the HEAT Social Media Department is a consistent leader in social media engagement and growth.
Woolworth has been at the forefront of several major capital improvement projects to the AmericanAirlines Arena, including the recently unveiled XFINITY East Plaza—a 34,000 square foot environmentally friendly, technologically sophisticated, and fully functional outdoor entertainment space, which provides stunning views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. The Plaza, which was previously uncovered and underutilized primarily because of Miami’s year-round sun and rain, is the product of a clean energy partnership with NRG, the Official Alternative Energy Partner of the Miami HEAT and AmericanAirlines Arena.
In June 2016, the HEAT was named the first-ever Environmental Innovators of the Year in the NBA category by the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit collaboration comprised of venue operators, sports team executives and environmental scientists to exchange information about better practices and develop solutions to their environmental challenges that are cost-competitive and innovative.
And last year, 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.
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, #7 in the United States, while placing 14th in the world according to Pollstar’s 2015 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.