South Florida’s Heat and Panthers Chase N.B.A. And N.H.L. Titles

“I’m all in on Jimmy Butler,” said Adam Trowles, a Briton who splits his time between Miami and London, where he watches Heat games in the wee hours. “I’d marry him if I could.”

On Wednesday, Trowles looked for tickets to attend game three against the Denver Nuggets. The cost was too steep, so he and his girlfriend, Gessica Jean, watched the game at Duffy’s Tavern in Coral Gables.

For all the hoopla, football remains the undisputed king of sports in Florida. The Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes are still the toast of the town — when they win. Tampa went wild in 2021 when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl and the Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

But basketball and hockey have their place. Transplants from Canada and the Northeast and Upper Midwest have held on to their allegiances. But over time, new fans are born, even for the Panthers, whose home ice at the FLA Live Arena, in Sunrise, Fla., is sandwiched between a shopping mall and the Everglades Wildlife Management Area. For locals, it’s been a parade of riches.

At Quarterdeck, a sports bar 10 minutes from the arena, Tyler Craig watched the Panthers beat the Knights in overtime on Thursday.

“It’s almost exhausting how many games we’ve been watching,” he said.

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