Why did the Miami Heat have to change the name of their arena mid-season?
In early April, news broke that the Miami Heat would be shedding ‘FTX’ from the name of its home arena, but the reason why turned heads to say the least.
Following a high-profile case that involved a bankruptcy claim from the former cryptocurrency giant and even the CEO and others in management being charged with a crime, the team cut ties FTX immediately.
FTX’s fall led to the Kaseya Center
If you missed it, back in early April the home arena of the NBA’s Miami Heat cut the FTX in its name. FTX of course, being the disgraced cryptocurrency exchange, which became embroiled in controversy just a few months prior. To that end, security software company, Kaseya, acquired naming rates of the arena in a deal reportedly worth $117 million, such that the formerly named FTX arena became Kaseya Center with immediate effect.
“The collapse of our previous partner caught everyone by surprise but, in conjunction with Miami-Dade County, we worked efficiently and incredibly quickly to fill our naming rights vacancy with Kaseya,” said Eric Woolworth, president of the Miami Heat’s business operations, in a statement. As for what exactly happened, FTX collapsed into bankruptcy in November of 2022 after a liquidity crisis which led to the resignation of founder and CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried to resign as CEO. To make matters worse, further investigation led to allegations against Bankman-Fried and others in relation to the misuse of customer accounts. The 31-year-old is currently on a $250 million bond as he sits under house arrest at his parents’ residence in Palo Alto, California, while awaiting trial.
The collapse of FTX had wide reaching effects
Having made a number of ties with the sports world, there was no shortage of celebrity names called when news broke that FTX had gone under. From Tom Brady to Stephen Curry, to tennis star Naomi Osaka and even the Heat’s very own Udonis Haslem, there were several high-profile athletes who were named as defendants in a class-action lawsuit against FTX. The suit argued that their celebrity status made them culpable for promoting the firm’s failed business model. There was even a deal with Mercedes’ Formula 1 racing team as well as Major League Baseball which had its umpires wearing the company’s logo last season. Mercedes has since removed the logo from its cars.
The name changing home of the Miami Heat
In truth, the Miami Heat have actually gone through a few names in recent years, with FTX acquiring the rights to the name in 2021 after signing a 19-year deal worth a reported $135 million. Once FTX was axed, however, the Heat’s home briefly took on the official name of “The Arena” before Kaseya successfully negotiated for naming rights. Incidentally, Kaseya is the first local company to have naming rights to the arena.