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Does LeBron's Presence In South Florida Hurt Or Help The Panthers?

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The fallout from "The Decision" is being felt far beyond the basketball world, of course, and the hockey world isn't necessarily immune from the megalomaniac known as King James.

When LeBron James announced on Thursday night that he would be signing with the Miami Heat, fans of the other sports franchises in that area immediately began to wonder what kind of impact his presence would have on their franchises.

Those fans, like Donny Rivette at Litter Box Cats, hope the coming hype machine surrounding the Heat won't spell bad things for his team.

From LBC:

Will his presence - along with the acquisition of Chris Bosh and re-signing of Dwyane Wade - spur a Cats relocation to Hamilton (gonna throw a saucy language warning on this, BTW)? That's perhaps a bit of a stretch; no reason exists to believe a successful hockey club can't share a market with a winning basketball team. Even this funky market, as shaky and bandwagon as it has understandably proven to be in difficult times, undoubtedly has the room and dollars to spare. And of course we're including the Dolphins and Marlins in this discussion. The Fish are getting a new bazillion-dollar stadium, and the NFL club will always be above the fray.

Each is a singular entity which overlaps the other three; the amount of overlap certainly varies, and if a prototypical - and entirely theoretical - South Florida sports fan was asked to rate the four clubs in order of preferrence, the Panthers are undoubtedly going to be at the aft end of the rankings.

But that's fine; they don't need market domination to survive. Just an ingrained ability to compete hard, win six three times more than they lose, and give the folks an honest effort every night (a postseason splash is, without question, an extraordinarily critical aspect). As long as Dale Tallon's doing his job (and oh yeah, coach Peter DeBoer), the crowds will grow despite the TMZ-style madness in Dade. And they can have it.

While our Marlins blog, The Phinsider, is eerily quiet about LeBron hitting the region, our Dolphins blog, The Phinsider, is all over the story. Panthers fans might be worried about LeBron's impact, but the Dolphins might just love the idea:

What does this mean to the Dolphins?

It's an interesting question on a number of levels. Think about the personalities now in Miami. Dwayne Wade. Chris Bosh. LeBron James. Ricky Williams. Brandon Marshall. When was the last time this city has had some star power?

Don't think for a minute that some of the players on the Dolphins aren't paying attention to this, either. Karlos Dansby already tweeted that it "would be pretty crazy to have LeBron joining us in Miami." And I'm sure some of the other Dolphin "tweeters" will share their thoughts in the coming days.

Suddenly, Miami is the center of the sports world. Fans are excited - for good reason. Think about the new faces on the sports scene in South Florida. The sports writers and radio hosts in the area are in heaven. Has there ever been as exciting a time in the city's sports history than right now?

While the South Florida media is obviously thrilled, I have a feeling that the Dolphins' organization is just as happy over this latest development. Ethan Skolnick tweeted as much on Thursday, saying that one Dolphins' representative told him that "high tide raises all boats" - which sounds like a line straight from Bill Parcells, if you ask me.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the day when LeBron leaves Miami and Pat Riley has to send out a nasty letter.