Saying that my hometown Miami Heat is the most hated team in the NBA isn't even open for debate. If you're not from around here, you hate the cocky smugness of the three superstars coming together to take their talents to South Beach.
You cringed at ESPN's The Decision. You hated the over-the-top player introductions a few days later. You loved it when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks crushed the Eastern Conference champs in Game 6 on Sunday night.
The venom was great for advertisers on Disney's
Big drama creates big audiences.
Does it end there, though? Can Heat Hate translate into boycotts of the team's biggest backers?
The Heat play at American Airlines Arena, but that's a push. The Mavs play in American Airlines Center. Parent company AMR
It's easy to shake your head at my suggestion, but consider this: If you're a travel agent in Cleveland, how many Carnival cruises do you think you're going to sell?
Just hours after the Mavs ended the Heat's season, Carnival issued an earnings warning. The Monday morning missive claims that unrest in the Middle East and the earthquake in Japan have resulted in 300 deployment changes. That will be good enough for a $0.15 hit in earnings per share during the second half of the year. Pesky fuel costs and weakness in bookings through southern Europe and the United Kingdom will also hold back results. Do the British hate LeBron, too?
You're wondering if I'm being serious, right? Well, kind of, though Carnival is the one brand in its niche that can't afford to have its good name sullied.
Carnival's flagship brand is the cruise line for the masses. Carnival operates several high-end ships, but its namesake vessels are priced for mainstream seafarers. Price similar itineraries through Disney, NCL, and Royal Caribbean
Cruising is awesome. As a shareholder in Steiner Leisure
However, the Heat Hate is real. And until I see Royal Caribbean, Disney, and NCL parrot Carnival's concerns, I really can't help wondering whether, a few quarters down the line, Carnival's board does the same thing misguided sports journalists have been doing all week in blaming LeBron for coming up short.
Do you still hate LeBron James? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Heat season-ticket holder since 2004 -- and he was there for Game 1 and Game 6. He owns shares of Steiner and Disney and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.