Like a shot of espresso to a recessionary hangover, news that the NBA's most sought-after free agent is "bringing my talents to South Beach" created instant excitement Friday for tourism promoters, hotels and others who stand to win when stars swarm into Miami.
Call it the aura of LeBron James, one that brings with it the cachet of celebrities in and out of the game, and the prospect of fresh dollars flowing in. "LeBron isn't just a basketball player, he's a brand, and that brand is sold worldwide," said accountant Tony Argiz, a partner with Morrison, Brown, Argiz and Farra.
Argiz threw out an economic impact estimate of $500 to $600 million, factoring in the increased value of the Miami Heat franchise, the multimillion-dollar homes Bosh and James are expected to buy, and the potential bonus of multiple Miami playoff series over the next five years.
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