Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is close to finalizing a 19-year, $135 million deal to take over naming rights for the Miami Heat’s arena, formerly known as AmericanAirlines Arena, according to multiple reports.
The venue will be renamed FTX Arena, pending approval of Miami-Dade County officials at a special meeting Friday.
Not only is the FTX agreement the first cryptocurrency exchange to sponsor a professional sports arena in the U.S., it’s one of the largest-ever naming rights deals in history. However, the FTX deal looks like a bargain compared to other naming rights blockbusters:
- Scotiabank Arena: $639 million, 21 years
- MetLife Stadium: $425 million to $625 million, 26 years
- Citi Field: $400 million, 22 years
- Chase Center: $300 million to $400 million, 24 years
American Airlines paid the Heat about $2.1 million annually for naming rights to the arena, which expired in 2019. Miami-Dade County had been paying the team nearly the same amount while it searched for a new partner.
FTX was founded in 2019 and is run by Samuel Bankman-Fried, a 28-year-old billionaire. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the FTX bid “complements” the crypto-friendly brand he wants for the city.
In February, Forbes said the Heat are worth $2.38 billion, good enough for the 12th-most valuable team in the NBA.