AmericanAirlines Arena

The AmericanAirlines Arena is a sports and entertainment arena located in Downtown Miami, Florida along Biscayne Bay. It was constructed beginning in 1998 as a replacement for the Miami Arena and was designed by the architecture firms Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture. The Arena is home to the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association. In the early 2000s, the Women's National Basketball Association team Miami Sol played at the arena from the team's birth in 2000 until the team's folding in 2002. The AmericanAirlines Arena is directly served by the Miami Metrorail at Government Center Station via free transfers to Metromover's Freedom Tower Station and Park West Station. The Arena is also within walking distance from the Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre Metrorail Station.

American Airlines maintains the AmericanAirlines Arena Travel Center at the venue. AmericanAirlines Arena should not be confused with the American Airlines Center, which is located in Dallas. The official spelling of the building is distinct as "American" and "Airlines" is considered as one word. An example of this wording is FedExForum or FedExField, the only difference is that "AmericanAirlines" and "Arena" are not joined together.

The AmericanAirlines Arena has 2,105 club seats, 80 luxury suites, and 76 private boxes. The Waterfront Theater is Florida's largest theater which is housed within the arena, that can seat between 3,000 and 5,800. The theater can be configured for concerts, family events, musical theatre and other stage shows.


The AmericanAirlines Arena opened on December 31, 1999 and its construction cost was $213,000,000. Architectural design team members included George Heinlein, Cristian Petschen, Reinaldo Borges, and Lance Simon. The AmericanAirlines Arena was inaugurated with a concert by Gloria Estefan, two days later, on January 2, 2000, the Miami Heat played his first game in new stadium by defeating the Orlando Magic 111–103.

As part of its sponsorship arrangement, American Airlines had a giant aircraft painted on top of the arena's roof, with an American Airlines logo in the center. The design is visible from airplanes taking off and landing at Miami International Airport, where American has a hub. The arena also has luxury skyboxes called "Flagship Lounges," a trademark originally used for American's premium-class lounges at certain airports.

Local sportscasters often refer to the arena as the "triple-A". Some sports reporters on the local news stations such as WSVN have referred to the arena as "A3" (A cubed). The arena is known for its unusual scoreboard, designed by Artist Christopher Janney. Drawing on the underwater anemone forms, the scoreboard also changes colors depending on the atmosphere. For concerts in an arena configuration, end stage capacity is 12,202 for 180-degree shows, 15,402 for 270-degree shows, 18,309 for 360-degree shows. For center stage concerts the arena can seat 19,146.

The Miami Heat has not had to pay to use the $213 million-venue, which sits on $38 million of county land; the county has paid $64 million in operating subsidies. "It was never a good deal," says former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, who opposed the new arena in 1996. "There are certain politicians who just get stars in their eyes and don't really think about what the real cost is going to be."

Notable events hosted

  • The AmericanAirlines Arena as well as the American Airlines Center, hosted the 2006 NBA Finals, in which the Miami Heat played the Dallas Mavericks. Because of this, the series was nicknamed by some as the American Airlines series. The 2011 NBA Finals is a rematch of the 2006 Finals and is played at the same two sites.
  • The arena sits on the former location of part of the Bicentennial Park street circuit used for IMSA and CART racing.
  • The Arena hosted the 4th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2003.
  • The arena was the setting for the highly publicized MTV Video Music Awards, both in 2004 and 2005. Both events brought millions of dollars into the Miami-Dade County economy.
  • The arena hosted WCW Uncensored 2000, WWE's Royal Rumble event on January 29, 2006, and Survivor Series on November 18, 2007. It's also hosted WWE Raw on January 1, 2007, and WWE SmackDown/ECW on April 1, 2008. WWE returned to the arena on July 14, 2009 for Smackdown/ECW, and WWE SmackDown/ECW on December 18, 2009. The arena hosted a "Viewer's Choice" edition WWE Raw on June 7, 2010, an episode which also saw the formation of the stable Nexus. It also hosted the 2010 Survivor Series on November 21, as well as WWE Raw on May 2, 2011. The event highlighted hometown hero Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson celebrating his 39th birthday in his hometown. Fellow Miami native and Latin-American rapper Pitbull also performed his hit single Give Me Everything at the show.
  • The arena played host to 1st and 2nd round games in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
  • The AmericanAirlines Arena also hosted the first UFC event in the state of Florida, UFC 42: Sudden Impact, on April 25, 2003.
  • In November 2002, Cher's Living Proof: The Farewell Tour performed at AmericanAirlines Arena for an NBC special which aired in April 2003, winning an Emmy.
  • On March 28, 2004, Britney Spears performed to a sold out show as part of The Onyx Hotel Tour. The show was broadcast live over the world.
  • The 2004 VMAs and 2005 VMAs were held there. Celebrities entered by yacht rather than by limousine.
  • The arena was host to For Darfur benefit concert, which was the Miami stop for Kanye West Glow in the Dark Tour, on May 6, 2008.
  • The arena was host to the American Idol 2008 auditions on August 20–22nd, 2007.
  • Celine Dion performed her Taking Chances Tour at the arena on January 23, 2009 and set an attendance record making it the largest crowd in the arena's history.
  • Britney Spears performed as part of her The Circus Starring Britney Spears Tour at the arena on March 7, 2009. She set an attendance record with a sell-out crowd of 18,644, beating out Celine Dion who previously gathered a 17,725 crowd. It is noted as the largest concert attendance in the arena's history as of 2009.
  • The cast of Mexican hit TV series Two Faces Of Love beat out Britney Spears selling out a crowd of 18,693 making this the largest concert attendance in the arena's history as of 2010.


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