The Miami Heat Arena will have a new name, following the contentious fall of cryptocurrency company FTX.
FTX Trading Ltd was founded in 2019, and for a brief time in 2021 was one of the largest trading exchanges in the world by volume. They operated a crypto hedge fund along with their cryptocurrency exchange and had over a million users. During their meteoric rise, FTX became a major sponsor of the Miami Heat basketball team, a $135 million deal which included the naming rights to their stadium.
In September 2022, after a relationship was revealed with Alameda Research that allowed FTX to skirt legal oversights, the company began a rapid downward slide. They began bankruptcy proceedings only two months later, having lost over $10 billion in customers’ assets. The CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Freid, was arrested by the Bahamian government at the request of the U.S. attorney’s office for fraud, money laundering, and violating campaign finance laws. His trial will be in October 2023. Others involved in both companies have already pleaded guilty to multiple charges. FTX’s short-lived supremacy may go down in history as the highest-sum case of criminal fraud to date.
The Miami Heat immediately sought to clean the tarnished FTX name from their books. The sponsorship deal with FTX was originally a 19-year contract. But a federal bankruptcy judge has approved an early termination to the agreement in light of the situation. The no-longer-FTX Arena and the Miami Heat are seeking a new naming rights partner. No one has currently been named as being in the running.
The termination of the contract had to be approved by a judge because the naming rights to a major sports stadium are a valuable asset, an asset which could have played heavily in the bankruptcy filings of the sinking exchange.
Photo: the sports venue formerly known as the FTX Arena. Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com