NBA still needs to approve Miami-Dade’s $135M deal with FTX to rename Miami Heat’s home

If the NBA approves the deal, the AmericanAirlines Arena will be the FTX Arena until 2040. The change in naming rights is part of a $135 million deal that Miami-Dade County commissioners approved on Friday.

MIAMI – The Miami Heat’s home will likely soon have a new name. If the NBA approves a new deal, the AmericanAirlines Arena, also known as the “Triple-A” or AAA, will be the FTX Arena until 2040. The change in naming rights is part of a $135 million deal that Miami-Dade County commissioners approved on Friday.

It didn’t happen without opposition. Commissioners Rebecca Sosa, who represents District 6, was against it at first and changed her mind. Rene Garcia, who represents District 13, was the only one who voted against the deal. Two commissioners were absent.

Sosa said FTX is a young company with no clear ties to the local community. Garcia said that although the motive is related to marketing, FTX put conditions on how the money needs to be spent. He said he doesn’t see the crypto world’s marketing victory as a done deal.

“There [are] a lot of questions whether the NBA will still approve of this,” Garcia said. “There [are] questions on trademarking.”

FTX is a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform with headquarters in Antigua and Barbuda. It launched operations on May 8, 2019. Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm founded in 2017, backs the international cryptocurrency exchange, which is associated with FTX US.

“This is a company that is clearly on the cutting edge. definitely very profitable and a very generous company,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, adding in a statement that the “historic investment” of $90 million over 19 years will help “tackle some of our most pressing challenges.”

FTX’s deal with the county allocates 70% of the money to the county’s general fund and splits the remaining 30% between the 13 commissioners. All of it is supposed to be used to fight gun violence and poverty.

“This is the first time that Miami-Dade County has officially recognized that we have an issue that’s plaguing our communities,” said Commissioner Keon Hardeman, who represents District 3 and sponsored the proposal.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief executive officer of FTX, released a statement saying the FTX family “is thrilled” about the “partnership” because FTX isn’t just putting a name on an iconic building. He said the company plans to invest an additional $5 million in community projects.

“We are committed to providing value to the growing and diverse community in Miami-Dade over the next two decades,” Bankman-Fried said.

The NBA did not release a statement. During the negotiations, the Superlative Group, a Cleveland-based naming rights sales firm, represented the county, and Glushon Sports Management, a full-service sports agency, represented FTX.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.