Miami-Dade mayor: FTX paid $20M to county before naming rights deal ended

Workers remove the FTX sign from the arena that is home to the Miami Heat on Friday in Downtown Miami. Photo courtesy of @Shiv2268 (Courtesy photo)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County is searching for the next company that will be willing to pay to name the home of the Miami Heat.

The 2021 naming rights deal with FTX was for $135 million over 19 years and included $2 million annual payments to the Miami Heat.

“We have to be aggressive in moving forward because we have an obligation to the Heat to have a named arena, so we have to proceed to explore other options,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday during This Week In South Florida with Senior Political Reporter Michael Putney and Reporter Glenna Milberg.

Levine Cava also said Miami-Dade County collected $20 million on the FTX naming rights deal. The Miami Heat released a statement on Friday announcing the termination of all relationships with FTX.

“Part of the contract says that if the company enters into bankruptcy proceedings the deal can be terminated,” Levine Cava said during TWISF.

Related letter: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation accuses FTX of false and misleading statements in August

FTX, once the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday morning in Delaware after not being able to meet a sharp increase in users’ withdrawals.

Levine Cava also said the millions from FTX funded the county’s Peace and Prosperity Plan, a “major initiative.” The county’s site describes the plan’s goal was to address “the root of gun violence.”

No longer a billionaire, Sam Bankman-Fried, who signed the deal with the county, announced on Twitter Friday that he had resigned and a bankruptcy attorney took his place.

FTX announced on Saturday that there was “unauthorized access” to its accounts after the bankruptcy filing. The Associated Press reported that the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating FTX.

Watch the TWISF segment with Levine Cava

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About the Author:

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.