Amid the liquidity issues of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and possible takeover by Binance, the naming rights of the Miami Heat’s arena have come into question 17 months after the facility formally changed to FTX Arena from AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat on Wednesday said, “It is far too premature for us to comment,” even as it is possible FTX soon will cease to exist.
Miami-Dade County in March 2021 agreed to a 19-year, $135 million contract with FTX for naming rights to the facility alongside Biscayne Bay, with the official renaming coming three months later.
Last month, the FTX logo was formally placed on the arena’s roof, replacing the airplane logo of American Airlines.
South Florida has had an uneven history of naming rights with its sporting venues.
It wasn’t until March 2021 that Marlins Park became LoanDepot Park. Hard Rock Stadium previously went without a title sponsor as Dolphins Stadium from 2005 to 2009. And the Florida Panthers currently are without a title sponsor for their Sunrise Arena, which is currently being called FLA Live Arena.
FTX made a significant splash with its entry into the sports realm. Beyond the Heat’s arena, the company has a sponsorship-patch agreement with Major League Baseball for umpire uniforms, a Formula 1 sponsorship with Mercedes, the naming rights for Cal-Berkley’s football field, and marketing agreements with Tom Brady, Stephen Curry and Sohei Otani, among others.
Heat captain Udonis Haslem is featured in a commercial for FTX that plays inside the arena and on the team’s broadcasts.
As seemingly has become the norm for the Heat and their opponents this season, the latest set of NBA last-two-minute officiating reports shows another moment that got away.
In the lone officiating error cited by the NBA over the final two minutes of the Heat’s 110-107 Monday night loss to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers, the league said the Heat should have been awarded a free throw for a defensive-three-seconds violation by Portland’s Justise Winslow with 55.7 seconds to play with the score tied 102-102 at the time.
The Heat lost that game on a Jason Hart 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Charlotte Hornets, who are scheduled to visit Thursday, again listed LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward as out for their Wednesday night game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Also, Cody Martin, twin brother of Heat forward Caleb Martin, has been dealing with a quadriceps issue.
“We haven’t played one game with everybody healthy,” Hornets forward PJ Washington told the Charlotte Observer. “So for everybody out there that’s thinking we are just losing or whatever, I mean we haven’t had our main guys at the end of the day. So once they get back, everything is going to change.”