Miami Heat looking to rename arena after FTX bankruptcy
On Saturday, November 12, the Miami Heat released a joint statement with Miami-Dade County on Instagram announcing their decision to “end” their partnership with FTX following the cryptocurrency company’s bankruptcy filing.
The 19-year, $135 million deal was finalized in June 2021. The collaboration between former American Airlines Arena and FTX was just shy of its two-year anniversary. ESPN reports that the entertainment venue’s signage and branding are set to drop soon.
“If FTX is unable to meet its financial obligations under the naming rights agreement, the county will explore all legal remedies,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s office said in a released statement.
A $5.5 million payment is due to Miami-Dade County in January 2023.
FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday, November 11, rocking the world of sports and automotive sponsorships. Over the past few years, since its rapid success, the digital asset platform has established relationships with top athletes and luxury car brands, such as Golden State Warriors goaltender Stephen Curry, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka and Mercedes-Benz for Formula 1 races.
Heat fans and Miami lifestyle accounts were quick to take to social media with name suggestions. @lifestyle_miami and @literallymiami have posted potential candidates to take over the arena’s branding on Instagram. Ideas included Café Bustelo Arena, Palacio de los Jugos Arena and Versailles Arena, each reflecting the culture of 305.
Instagram and Twitter users took to the comment sections to express their desire for American Airlines Arena to return. Others have suggested the Miami Arena, an unofficial name for the venue that many born and raised in Dade County have used of their own free will.
Elliot Farr, a sophomore in legal studies, heard about the news through the Miami Heat’s Instagram statement.
“I wasn’t too surprised by the name change,” Farr said. “However, learning that the Heat were using some of the money from that sponsorship for their community relations initiatives was surprising, which made the name change all the more significant.”
Farr found @literallymiami memes, like Big Face Coffee Arena, after Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler’s brand of coffee, “hilarious.”
Nonetheless, Farr encourages local and national businesses.
“Publix would be my choice, since it’s a name everyone knows and the name would sound good,” Farr said.
Sophomore health sciences student Derek Hart learned of the news through various basketball media Twitter accounts.
“Immediately, I was surprised at how well this deal had come together recently, especially from a company in an industry that many thought would take off in cryptocurrency,” said Hart.
Among his favorite name suggestions are “Versailles Arena” and “Big Daddy’s Arena”.
Although it may be some time before an official renaming process is underway, the venue will continue to be called FTX Arena for future events indefinitely. In the meantime, I’ll be here counting the days until my next Heat game at the ______ Arena.