Bankrupt FTX will pay more for the basketball arena’s naming rights even as the county works to remove the crypto firm’s name, Mayor Daniela Levin Cava told commissioners last week, and a new naming rights deal with someone else is underway. Used to be.
“Companies are coming forward to talk to the Heat, to our employees” about naming rights, the mayor said, adding that the commissioners pressed him for details. He did not specify how much FTX would pay, which companies had approached the county, or when a deal might be unveiled other than in the “near future.”
The arena was named after American Airlines until the contract expired in late 2019. It took the county more than two years to find a new sponsor, FTX, in a 19-year deal worth $135 million, with FTX paying $20 million. The arena had three names this month, now Miami-Dade Arena, as the county looks for a deal.
“Clearly we are in a different position than we were two years ago and we sincerely hope that we will be able to achieve a very meaningful deal in the near future,” the mayor said.
Commissioner Raquel Regalado pressed the mayor on what the county is doing to fund a new department created to use arena sponsorship funds to work on poverty and gun violence.
“So, what happens to these people who are in the Department of Peace and Prosperity when we run out of money to pay them?” He asked. “What happens to their salary? what are they doing?”
The mayor said the program continues to use the money it has already received and the county expects the FTX payment this month. “Any subsequent deal will meet all the same terms and conditions relating to that program,” she said.
The mayor said Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morales is leading the dealmaking.
Chairman Oliver Gilbert III said Keon Hardman is the point person for the commission because the arena is in his district, and “when a new deal is offered it’s probably going to come through him.”