- Associated Press - Thursday, July 22, 2010

MIAMI (AP) - Eric Woolworth has worn button-down shirts to work for the last two weeks, instead of short-sleeve polos.

With good reason.

Those polos say “Miami Heat.”

“I can’t wear them because I can’t go out without getting accosted,” said Woolworth, the Heat president of business operations. “You can’t go out to eat or to a supermarket. You know, everybody wants to talk to you about what’s going on. It’s crazy.”

Don’t misunderstand. This is a problem the Heat are thrilled to have.

When Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade made simultaneous announcements on July 7 that they would be teammates in Miami, followed by LeBron James‘ decision that lured 10 million television viewers and worldwide attention one night later, Heatmania became an instant phenomenon in the sports business world.

The waiting list for Miami season tickets is growing rapidly, fans willing to pay a nonrefundable $100 fee to join. The NBA says the Heat are tops in merchandise sales, with James, Wade and Bosh having three of the five best-selling jerseys. Businesses all over South Florida are trying to cash in on the act, with everything from a LeBron Burger to a “Heat Suite” replete with a Ferrari rental now available.

To think, the season is still more than three months away.

“We are playing in a different sandbox now,” Woolworth said.

Indeed, the impact _ social and financial, on-court and off-court _ James, Wade and Bosh may end up having together in their newly formed supertrio is already becoming apparent. Some estimate their collective financial impact on South Florida could exceed $1 billion, not even taking into account the $329 million in playing contracts they have with Miami through 2016.

“What this is going to bring to the city of Miami, what winning brings period, what excitement brings, is togetherness,” Wade said. “Everyone wants to be together. Everyone wants to be a part of it. People are going to come. They’re going to flock to Miami.”

And when they do, they’ll need something to eat, things to do and places to work and sleep.

Ideas in those fronts are coming in bunches.

Hungry? The LeBron Burger has been added to the menu at OneBurger in Coral Gables. It starts with Kobe beef (a nod to Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant, the leader of the two-time reigning NBA champions), with Swiss cheese, an onion ring (think championship ring) and jalapenos (for heat, er, the Heat).

Stressed? Get the “LeBroyal Treatment” for $149 at Seven Seas Aveda Spa & Salon at the Newport Beachside Hotel, a collection of six items, an homage to James‘ new jersey. It features a massage, manicure, personal training session, jet-ski rental, gift package and to top it off, a six-pack of beer.

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