With the arrival of Lebron James, the Miami Heat rapidly sold out all their season tickets. That turned out to be bad news for the ticket-sales staff, which was fired Friday.
In a statement, the Heat confirmed the dismissals Friday afternoon, saying that with an "exhausted" inventory of season-tickets "we no longer require a season ticket sales team to sell tickets."
Stephen Weber, vice president of sales, delivered the news to about 30 ticket sales people Friday morning, according to one of the staffers who asked not to be named because he is seeking another job in sports.
Even when James was merely rumored to be heading for the Heat, the team saw an explosion in season ticket sales. The staffer said he and his colleagues were making cold calls to prospective customers and taking deposits for a waiting list that now has more than 6,000 names on it. The dismissals reflect the new Heat position in basketball: it can sell tickets without really trying.
"They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore," the fired staffer said.
Ayeh Ashong, partner at the Tickets of America brokerage in Miami, said demand for Heat tickets is sky-high, with opening game seats selling for about $250 apiece. "They're probably the hottest tickets in the country," he said.
The Heat did not release details of the dismissals, except to say the sales force "ebbs and flows" with the supply of tickets.
"While the decision to release part of our sales force was a difficult one, we greatly appreciate their contributions to the company," the statement continued. "We have also hired a placement service to assist those individuals find new employment.
"Should any season tickets become available, they will be handled through our season ticket deposit program. We thank those employees for their time with the company and wish them success in their future endeavors."
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