Forbes: Heat owner Arison lost $1.3 billion

Last month Miami Heat owner Micky Arison cast a protest vote against the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement because he felt it was a bad financial deal for his team. Even though Arison is one of the NBA’s wealthiest owners, he’s regularly maintained that his basketball business should still be run like a business.

That isn’t likely to change, especially since Forbes magazine estimated this week that Arison lost more than 20 percent of his net worth in the last year. Citing the 28 percent drop in Carnival Cruise Lines stock, the financial publication said Arison lost $1.3 billion. He is still estimated to have $4.5 billion in assets.

Arison is the majority owner of a variety of different cruise brands and recently launched his 100th cruise ship. His core business has been affected by the slump in leisure travel over the last several years.

Meanwhile, the Heat were one of the league’s most profitable teams in the 2010-11 season, selling out every game and making a deep and lucrative playoff run while maintaining a payroll that was below the league’s luxury tax level. This season, however, the Heat are paying the luxury tax and new tax rules will make it very expensive to keep their core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together starting in the 2013-14 season. A new revenue-sharing system also will make the Heat share more of their profits with other teams, the facet of the new deal that irked Arison the most.

Arison was one of the owners who was in favor of a hard salary cap and not an increase in the luxury tax. Because of his personal wealth, Arison said in an interview last month that many assume he should be willing to run the Heat at a loss.

“That’s why a hard cap concept is a better concept than a luxury tax concept,” Arison said. “That’s the way fans feel, that’s the way players feel, that is the way coaches feel. The only one that feels differently is someone who runs a business and expects to get a return on their investment.”