Reporting Natalia Zea
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Fans lined up early Monday morning to try and snag a ticket to the hottest game in town this week. The fans wanted to see this weekend’s NBA all-star exhibition game at FIU’s arena.
And less than two hours after the tickets went on sale, the entire inventory of tickets was sold out.
The game will feature the Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Plus, it will feature a who’s who of NBA stars.
The list of other players expected to attend includes: Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Heat guard Mario Chalmers.
Face value of the tickets are $100 for the lower level and $50 for the upper level. A small price to pay to see NBA greats during the NBA lockout. But some ticket brokers and fans are turning around and selling the tickets for as much as 12 times what they paid the charity for them.
The idea was hatched a couple of weeks ago when LeBron James was among a small group reaching out to Isiah Thomas about the possibility of hosting a star-studded charity game at Florida International as a way to connect with fans during the NBA lockout.
A deal was soon struck, and at least for one night, the NBA — along with the biggest Heat stars — will play again in Miami.
“They wanted to do it. They love to play the game. They wanted to come back to Florida, to give Miami something special,” Thomas said on CBS4 Sports wrap.
Betsy Godoy-Rosado was first in line.
“I’m really excited to see Lebron James and Dwyane Wade and so we’re just waiting for our tickets,” she said.
FIU officials said proceeds will go toward Mary’s Court Foundation, a charity established in honor of Thomas’ late mother, Mary Thomas.
Thomas said he was “overwhelmed” that the game will benefit the charity bearing his mother’s name, an idea he said the players involved in organizing the event came up with on their own.
“When they said that to me, I cried,” Thomas said. “My mom was the NBA mom. Not only did she look out for other moms in the NBA, she tried to help all people. The fact that these guys appreciate things she did, hell, I didn’t even know they knew.”
But some fans and online ticket brokers have turned this charity event into an opportunity to cash in big. They are selling the tickets for anywhere from $150 to $1500 each. And you can bet the charity won’t see a dime of those huge markups.
FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia says event organizers had pure intentions.
“Could they have all gotten together and sold these tickets for a lot more? Obviously, but they wanted the fans, the average fan to be able to have access to these tickets,” Garcia told CBS4′s Natalia Zea. “Are some people profiting from this? Yeah, that happens. But that wasn’t the intent, and I know that’s not what the players and Isiah had in mind.”
“That defeats the whole purpose of it. They’re not coming to do this for other people to make a profit, they’re coming to do it for charity,” said FIU student Santasha Hart.
The game may be the only chance to see the NBA players on the court this season. The lockout continues and weekend negotiations produced no solid movement on the labor front.