We recently sat down with Mike Walker, Executive Vice President for the Miami Heat Group for an interview. The American Airlines Arena (AAA) has provided Latin artists a monumental arena to perform in while helping the Latin American community come together in Miami.
The AAA opened in 2000 and Mr. Walker arrived in 2001. He is in charge of booking all of the performances and shows at the arena. Over the last 11 years, the arena has had in excess of 100 Latin shows and Gloria Estefan came in as the first Latin performer of many the building would soon host. The arena has hosted the Latin Grammys and MTV Music Awards and out of all the shows held here annually; about 35%-45% of them are Latin.
The AAA was built to replace the Miami Arena, which held all the major concerts in Miami as well as the Florida Panthers (1993-1998), Miami Heat (1988-1999), and the University of Miami Basketball team (1988-2003). Here is our Q & A we with Mr. Walker.
(MW: Mike Walker)
PB: How does the turn out for a Latin event compare to a general event?
MW: “A lot of it depends on the act and the show itself, but because our market is so strong we do very very well. Of the 100+ shows we have had here, I would venture to say that about 75% of them are sellout shows for the capacity we have. The capacity can change because of the stage configurations; sometimes the promoter doesn’t want to open the balcony with curtains. A show may have as few as 3,500 seats or as many as many as 20,000 seats, it just depends.
PB: Do you feel like social media is a big part of what you do?
MW: “Absolutely” “We gotta make sure that we’re on the cutting edge and/or doing as much with the social media as we can. In fact, today as we market shows, we don’t market shows like we did 5 or 7 or 10 years ago with print, broadcast and radio, we still do a little of that but a lot of it is social media. Between Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and all those kinds of things, we sell tickets in a much more cost effective way and it’s only going to get better I think. With mobile apps you’ll be able to buy your ticket to the show and bring it on your phone to scan it and you’re in”
PB: Tell us a little bit about being LEED certified.
MW: “American Airlines Arena was the first building by about two days to get the LEED certification. Our level is not the top level; it is the secondary level and is something we worked towards for about a year and a half before we could apply. It really was an objective of the management group to say, “Listen we should be environmentally conscious, we should do everything we can within the building to provide a safe, clean, and environmentally sound green building” … Simple things like cutting back on the water usage, being sensitive to other environmental kinds of concerns with the use of cleaning chemicals in the building, and being conscious with recycling all the bottles and cans we use”
To listen to the complete interview, check out our SoundCloud audio track below:
Interview with Mike Walker of the American Airlines Arena by Pulsobeat