Heat putting more pressure on Dolphins?

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
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A championship parade will take place in downtown Miami on Monday, courtesy of the Heat. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Co. will show off the NBA's Larry O'Brien Trophy for thousands of adoring Miami sports fans.

Is this a good or bad thing for the Miami Dolphins?

I think a case can be made for both sides. Let's examine.

Less pressure

A pro sports championship buys time for the rebuilding Dolphins. Miami fans cannot be spoiled to the point of expecting two championships in a calendar year. That rarely happens.

The Heat's championship should carry over to football season. Even if the Dolphins struggle, it probably won't overtake the buzz of Miami fans still riding high from a basketball championship. The Dolphins do not have to make a title run, because Miami has already crowned its champion for 2012.

More pressure

The Dolphins are competing for sports and entertainment dollars with the Heat, who have dominated the market since the arrival of James in 2010. Tickets to pro games aren't cheap, and it's clear South Florida residents prefer to spend their hard-earned dollars to see the Heat, which is a better and more entertaining product.

Also, Miami is very much an event town. It's a glitzy place where people want to see and be seen. American Airlines Arena, home of the Heat, currently is that place. Sun Life Stadium has lacked that kind of environment for a while. It doesn't help that the Dolphins are struggling.

Football has a longer history in South Florida, but at some point history starts to fade. It's premature to say Miami is now a basketball town thanks to the Heat. But each Heat championship certainly closes the football-basketball gap in Miami, especially when the Dolphins and Hurricanes aren't nearly as competitive.

The Heat have raised the bar for sports teams in Miami. The Dolphins, in particular, must get their act together. It's increasingly clear many Miami fans now are only willing to pay for a good product, regardless of history.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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