As LeBron rumors swirl, Heat ticket sales flying

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The mere hint of LeBron James coming to Miami has already made the Heat winners — at the box office.

Season-ticket sales for the coming Heat season were suspended Thursday afternoon after the entire supply of available seats sold out.

That doesn’t mean all 19,600 seats are gone for the 41 home games. Not every seat has been released for sale and some will be held back for single-game purchases.

By mid-afternoon, a message was posted on the Heat website inviting fans to call the team ticket office directly for purchase-related questions. Earlier Thursday, season packages were available starting at $4,300, and the auction sites like eBay had some packages offered for as much as $18,500.

The Heat declined comment, although it’s expected that on Friday — whether James picks Miami or not — more tickets will be available. Heat fans have been encouraged to buy them for months, even getting told during in-game announcements last season that prices would go up as the 2010-11 campaign drew nearer.

Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers couldn’t resist getting in on the ticket frenzy.

South Florida’s NHL team, which plays its games about 30 minutes north of the Heat home in downtown Miami, offered James a nod with a “Seats Fit For A King” promotion. Through Monday, the Panthers were selling season tickets with a per-game price of $23 — King James’ former jersey number — in their lower bowl, and for $6 — his new jersey number — in the upper bowl.

“Based on the hype surrounding rumors of a new King headed to South Florida, we wanted to remind our fans that we want them to feel like royalty,” said Panthers president and chief operating officer Michael Yormark. “Certainly, it’s an exciting time to be part of the South Florida sports industry.”

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