MIAMI – The downtown Miami arena that is home to the Miami Heat is in need of a new name.
On Wednesday, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that effective immediately, the venue would no longer be called FTX Arena.
The bankruptcy court order terminates the 19-year $135 million naming rights agreement with crypto company FTX. A copy of the court order can be found at the bottom of this story.
“There’s no need to promote FTX anymore,” said legal analyst David Weinstein.
Miami-Dade County asked the court to sever the agreement after the crypto trading platform declared bankruptcy late last year, just a year and a half from when the agreement took effect to much fanfare.
“They (Miami-Dade County) will still have whatever remedies they have under the contract to recover lost money but given the nature of the way everything went down with this, I think it’s one of those situations where you cut ties, put it behind you, and move on to the future,” said Weinstein.
For the county, the naming rights agreement was supposed to mean millions of dollars earmarked to combat gun violence.
The Peace and Prosperity Plan was developed in the walk of a particularly violent summer two years ago.
Of the nearly $20 million FTX already paid the county for the first two years of the naming rights agreement, a county report says nearly $6 million has been expended on the Peace and Prosperity Plan programs administered, in part, by the Miami-Dade County Police Department.
A new county report found that the plan appears to be working, with “observed reductions in both shootings and homicides,” according to the report, which makes finding a new sponsor for the county –owned, Miami Heat-managed sports and entertainment venue so critical in terms of keeping that targeted funding stream going.
“They can recover that money, they can now sell those naming rights to a different sponsor,” said Weinstein.
Local 10 News has reached out to the Miami Heat to find out when it plans to begin removing FTX signage on the building but there has been no response.
Next week, county commissioners will discuss a resolution related to allocating more funds they had already received from FTX to Peace and Prosperity Plan programs.
The county mayor’s office tells Local 10 News that the arena does not have an official name until there is a naming rights agreement with a new sponsor.
“We are referring to it as the arena in the interim,” a spokesperson said.
“Miami-Dade County shall (a) cease referring to the arena by the Arena Name in all public references on a going forward basis, (b) use commercially reasonable efforts to remove all offsite public references to the Arena Name that are within the control of the County.” #FTX pic.twitter.com/gZ16g5ALSc— Christina Boomer Vazquez, M.S. (@CBoomerVazquez) January 11, 2023
RELATED AGENDA ITEMS FOR MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION MEETING
MORE ABOUT THE PEACE AND PROSPERITY PLAN
BANKRUPTCY COURT ORDER ON FTX ARENA NAMING RIGHTS AGREEMENT: