John Todora doesn’t think the Miami Heat’s recent losing skid is funny. The co-owner of the bar Whiskey Tango in Hollywood, Fla., told CNBC he has now lost $85,000 in bar bills thanks to the team’s losses this season.
“I need to get in touch with LeBron and ask him for a bailout,” Todora said on Wednesday, still recovering from the Heat’s sixth loss in seven games the night before.
When LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade this offseason, Todora and his business partner Bob Hartley dreamed up the idea of offering free alcohol to patrons if the Heat lost a game.
Fans would need to show up 30 minutes before the game and stay until the conclusion to get a $25 bar bill credit.
The two, not armed with insurance, thought it would be a good way to bring in a crowd. And the team was pretty much a slam dunk. The only question was, would they beat the Bulls regular season record of 72 wins?
But that’s not what happened. The team lost 8 times in the first 17 games and lost five of six games in January. Thanks to losing six of their last 7, the team has now lost 21 games.
“I’m holding my breath every time,” Todora said. “It’s like I never know which Heat team is going to show up.”
"Some true Heat fans can’t stand it and leave early...and I think some people are just drunk and just forget."
Even though Todora said much of the city has already given up the team, he is still pouring out potential profits. After a five-point loss to the Knicks on Feb. 27, Todora handed out $5,600 in free bar bills to fans, topping the $4,000 he gave back to fans for the Heat’s loss to the Celtics on opening night.
If there’s a saving grace, Todora says it’s the rule that stipulates that fans must stay until the very end.
“Some true Heat fans can’t stand it and leave early, other people figure the money isn’t worth being tired at work the next day and I think some people are just drunk and just forget,” Todora said.
As for the Heat, Todora said the only contact he has had with team officials is a cease-and-desist letter.
“It was a friendly call,” Todora said. “They just wanted us to stop using their name and logo on marketing materials.”
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