Thursday September 28, 2023

FTX Bankruptcy Sinks Heat Arena’s $135M Deal

  • Miami-Dade County is ending its deal with FTX 17 years early.
  • The company could owe the county $16.5 million in fees.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the most high-profile sports venue naming rights deals in recent memory lasted less than two years.

The Miami Heat and Miami-Dade County are ending their deal with crypto exchange FTX, which announced it filed for bankruptcy on Friday.

  • Miami-Dade, which owns the Heat’s arena, agreed to a 19-year, $135 million naming rights deal with FTX in March 2021.
  • Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that FTX paid the county $20 million to date, and that its contract with FTX included a provision that the deal may be terminated if FTX entered bankruptcy.
  • The contract also requires FTX to pay the county three years in fees — $16.5 million — if it faces an “insolvency event.”

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried resigned and was replaced by John J. Ray III, a corporate turnaround specialist who helped manage Enron after its dramatic collapse in 2001.

Other Deals Doomed?

The FTX Arena pact was only one of numerous sports deals struck by the crypto company. 

In August 2021, FTX agreed to a reported 10-year, $17.5 million pact with Cal to name its football field FTX Field at Memorial Stadium. 

The UC Berkeley’s athletic department told Front Office Sports it was “monitoring the evolving business situation with FTX and will determine any next steps.”

That same year, FTX became MLB’s official cryptocurrency exchange and secured the league’s first umpire uniform patch in a five-year deal.

FTX also had deals with Tom Brady, Steph Curry, and Shohei Ohtani, among others.

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