Saturday, April 20, 2024

Ticket to fame


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South Beach in Florida is about to get a real taste of paradise.
And if everything goes right, Barbados’ tourism product is about to come up with a slam dunk.
That’s because the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), in efforts aimed at siginificantly improving its profile in North America, will have the island highlighted during a half-time show and a post-game event that most Americans will be watching.
A special team from Barbados, including some of the biggest names in local entertainment plus stilt-walkers, is due in Miami next week to perform during the half-time show of a National Basketball Association  (NBA) game between the much-vaunted Miami Heat and the up-and-coming New Jersey Nets at the American Airlines Arena on Saturday night.
The reason BTA officials believe Barbados Night is about to take off is because the Miami Heat are currently the hottest ticket in professional sports across the United States, and the 15-minute half-time show could be 15 minutes of fame for Barbados’ tourism product, in terms of visibility in a market that is actually a contender for tourism dollars with Barbados.
“I’m really excited about this,” said BTA president David Rice as he spoke to the SATURDAY SUN by telephone link-up from Miami yesterday.
“What you are looking at is 15 000 fans in the arena and millions who will be watching on television getting a taste of Barbados.
“Some of these people have never been to Barbados before and we want to encourage them to come. We think this is the perfect way to get more Americans to Barbados and to see what we have to offer as a tourism destination.”
 The partnership with the Miami Heat will see Barbados being promoted during two home games at the American Airlines arena every season. Barbados will also be featured in a special edition Miami Heat calandar on sale at all home games this season.
The Heat became the talk of the sports town earlier this year when the NBA’s defending Most Valuable Player Lebron James decided to leave his team in Cleveland and encouraged his pal Chris Bosh to leave Toronto, Canada, and join him to team up with the Heat’s own superstar Dwayne Wade.
The trio, now known in NBA circles as the Big 3, have made the Miami Heat the largest draw for any NBA team this season.
And now, fans are paying a giddying US$25 000 for a pair of front row seats at Miami’s home games.


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