Companies already inquiring with Miami-Dade County, Miami Heat regarding arena naming rights deal

MIAMI – Miami-Dade County commissioners discussed the newly-named Miami-Dade Arena for the first time Tuesday since a federal judge terminated its naming rights agreement with the bankrupt cyber trading platform FTX.

The cost to take down these signs will be a shared cost with the county and Miami Heat, and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the new naming partner will also bear that cost.

The entertainment venue was called FTX Arena up until last month.

Miami-Dade sought to sever its deal with FTX after the cyber trading platform declared bankruptcy last year, and with a contractual January payment of $5.5 million looming, FTX also wanted out.

A judge terminated the 19-year deal which, when signed, was worth $135 million.

The January order was back dated to the end of December and now the hunt is on for a new sponsor.

The money generated in the naming rights deal helps fund the county’s anti-poverty and gun violence mitigation programs known as the Peace and Prosperity Plan.

“The commitment that was made to serve our community through the Pace and Prosperity Plan is part of any new agreement, the legislation that was passed a couple of years ago will pertain to any new naming rights agreement,” said Levine Cava.

The mayor says this fiscal year is covered by the $20 million FTX already paid the county for the first two years of the deal.

Now, the mayor said new companies are already coming forward.

“It has been verbal, (the) county and (Miami) Heat have heard from several different businesses,” said Levine Cava. “We do have the funds to cover this fiscal year, and we are hopeful we will have a new deal in time for, if not before, next fiscal year and have a name on the stadium that actually is a company not fleecing people of money.”

Commission Chairman Oliver Gilbert III made reference to the civil and criminal charges FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is facing.

Local 10 News’ Christina Vazquez asked Gilbert if he has any worry that federal prosecutors going after the company and/or Bankman-Fried will try to get back some of the money paid to Miami-Dade County.

“I hope not, but we will see. We have lawyers,” he said.

Both the Heat and the county have to agree to the partner.

It would need to be sponsored by Commissioner Keon Hardemon, whose district the arena is in, before being brought to the commission for full approval.

“We want a naming rights partner that is passionate about helping our community,” Hardemon said. “We want a partner who is not just concerned about its dollars, its revenue, but the sense that it makes. We want a partner that is much like a marriage, one we can look to and say, ‘You are helping us get to our end, and that end for us is a community that is without gun violence.’”

Hardemon is seeking a sponsor who he says will share the county’s anti-violence program priorities.

“We want a partner who also sees that vision, so if they just want to really negotiate us to the smallest dollar, than we don’t need your money,” he said.

No word yet on which companies are verbally reaching out to the county and the Heat telegraphing potential interest, or when exactly crews will arrive to remove the FTX signage currently on the building.

The mayor previously said the process could take weeks.


Miami-Dade County report on the Annual Review, Audit and Analysis of the Use of Funds Received From the Sale of the Naming Rights and Associated Sponsorship Rights to the FTX Arena

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."