FTX Arena, home of the Miami Heat, re-dubbed Miami-Dade Arena
Miami-Dade wins rights to remove FTX name from Heat Arena
Miami-Dade wins right to remove FTX name from Heat Arena 01:24
FTX Arena, the South Florida athletic stadium that is home to the NBA’s Miami Heat, will be renamed Miami-Dade Arena, the team announced Friday.
The change comes just days after US Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey ruled in favor of Miami-Dade County’s request to remove FTX’s name from the stadium following the cryptocurrency trading firm’s sudden collapse. The termination of the naming rights deal between FTX Trading, which filed for bankruptcy in November, and Florida County “will be effective immediately upon receipt of this order,” Dorsey wrote in his decision.
The heat tweeted his new arena name and said the removal of FTX “branding elements will continue in the coming weeks”.
Miami-Dade Arena pic.twitter.com/sAn69PKIZQ
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 13, 2023
It will take time to remove the FTX name from the massive multi-purpose venue. The arena will bear FTX branding on the roof, courtyard and corridor entrances, as well as on polo shirts worn by security personnel and on electronic cards used to access the building.
Miami-Dade County officials called for the termination of the FTX naming rights deal in November, saying at the time that continuing to designate the building as the FTX Arena would only add to the “ongoing hardships” caused by the crypto exchange collapse.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who resigned as CEO in November, has been in and out of court in recent weeks after federal prosecutors charged him with money laundering and fraud. Prosecutors accuse Bankman-Fried of defrauding clients by using their crypto funds to pay off debts and expenses incurred by FTX’s hedge fund, Alameda Research. He was released on bail and is due to appear in court in October.
Miami-Dade pleads right to remove FTX name from Heat arena 00:35
Anthony Sabino, bankruptcy expert and law professor at St. John’s University, said the FTX case shows local governments need to be careful when choosing a company to build naming rights.
“No doubt the Miami venue owners will have no trouble finding a suitable naming rights partner, but their recent tussles with FTX aptly demonstrate that selling naming rights to a sports venue sounds like fun until things start to speed downhill .”
In 2021, Miami-Dade officials negotiated a 19-year, $135 million naming rights deal with FTX. Under the deal, which took effect in June 2021, the Miami Heat was scheduled to receive $2 million annually. FTX was scheduled to make its next $5.5 million payment to the county on Jan. 1.
– With reports from the Associated Press
Christopher J Brooks