President, Business Operations
The 2023-24 season marks Eric Woolworth’s 29th season with The HEAT Group and 24th at the helm of the organization as President, Business Operations, during which he has made an indelible impression on both the Miami HEAT and Kaseya Center. 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.
Woolworth’s primary responsibility consists of directing and overseeing all non-basketball aspects of the organization from Marketing and Social Responsibility to Sales and Service, Human Capital, Business Intelligence, Merchandising, Finance, Event and Arena Operations, and more. His efforts have created a professional cutting-edge atmosphere for both the employees and the customers.
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. Since the program’s inception in 2013, The HEAT Group has 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 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.
Woolworth was the driving force behind the franchise’s focus to mobile-centric technology and the award-winning Miami HEAT Mobile App. The App’s primary features—Digital Ticketing and Fan Loyalty—create a seamless, paperless platform, which customizes and further enhances the fan’s in-arena experience. In 2017-18, the HEAT was the first team in the NBA to offer mobile only entry with approximately 85% of HEAT fans entering Kaseya Center using the technology. Additionally, the HEAT was the first team in the NBA to introduce contactless ticketing, allowing fans to tap their phones to get into the arena.
Under Woolworth’s guidance, The HEAT Group’s Business Operations Division continues to garner accolades in a variety of disciplines including winning the 2022 Alvah H. Chapman, Jr. Award of Excellence for making significant contributions to the development of Miami’s central business district; and being named the NBA’s 2021 Team of the Year for demonstrated excellence in business performance across both key revenue drivers and operational focus areas such as people and culture, and community impact. Additionally, the franchise continues to log repeated and league-high season ticket renewal rates, league-leading retail merchandise sales, and the unveiling of the first-of-its-kind “Mindfulness Sanctuary” at Miami Carol City Senior High School, making it the 22nd educational safe space unveiled under the team’s “Learn and Play Center” umbrella. The HEAT was also the inaugural winner of the NBA’s 2018 Inclusion Leadership Award for the franchise’s lengthy history and ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Moreover, the HEAT is a consistent leader in social media engagement and growth—ranking sixth in the NBA with a combined 32.2 million worldwide followers (Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat and Weibo).
Woolworth oversaw the launch of 601 Analytics, a full-service, in-house data collection and analysis platform that gathers data on every aspect of the business: ticket sales, food and beverage sales, retail sales, ticket utilization for games, concerts and events, mobile scan entries and much more—providing a real time view into the franchise’s business operations. 601 Analytics’ client list includes the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA, Ilitch Sports (Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings) and the New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints.
In addition, in September 2020, the HEAT established a ground-breaking partnership with the Miami Police Department and Dedication to Community (D2C) to administer specialized training to the entirety of Miami’s police force with the goals of positively impacting interactions between law enforcement and the South Florida community—particularly the Black community. The NBA recognized this unique program by awarding the HEAT the 2021 Values of the Game Award for inspiring and connecting people in the Miami community through the power of basketball.
In April 2023, the HEAT inked a multi-year naming rights and sponsorship deal with Kaseya, the leading global provider of unified IT management and security software for managed services providers and IT professionals, renaming the home of the HEAT “Kaseya Center.” The deal is a testament to the enduring and fruitful public/private partnership Woolworth has built with Miami-Dade County.
Woolworth’s efforts have also firmly planted Kaseya Center 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.
The Kaseya Center is also a celebrated leader in the facilities industry due to Woolworth’s leadership. The Center has maintained its position as the #1 arena in Florida for the 11th time during the past 12 years—according to both Pollstar and Billboard’s 2022 year-end rankings of the world’s top arenas. Worldwide, the Arena ranks 8th according to Pollstar and 9th according to Billboard for ticket sales.
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 Kaseya Center 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.