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FTX Arena, home of the Miami Heat, redubbed Miami-Dade Arena

Miami-Dade wins right to strip FTX name off Heat arena
Miami-Dade wins right to strip FTX name off Heat arena 01:24

FTX Arena, the sports stadium in South Florida that the NBA's Miami Heat calls home, will now be called Miami-Dade Arena, the team said Friday. 

The change comes just days after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey ruled in favor of Miami-Dade County, which had asked to have FTX's name stripped from the stadium in wake of the cryptocurrency trading company's sudden collapse. Termination of the naming rights deal between FTX Trading, which declared bankruptcy in November, and the Florida county "shall be effective immediately upon entry of this order," Dorsey wrote in his decision.

The Heat tweeted its new arena name and said removing FTX "branding elements will be ongoing in coming weeks."

Scrubbing the FTX name from the massive multipurpose venue will take time. The arena has FTX branding on its roof, court and hallway entrances, as well as on polo shirts worn by security personnel and electronic cards used to access the building. 

Miami-Dade county officials asked for its FTX naming rights deal to be ended in November, saying at the time that continuing to refer to the building as FTX Arena would only add to the "enduring hardships" brought on by the collapse of the crypto exchange.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who stepped down as CEO in November, has been in and out of court in recent weeks after federal prosecutors charged him with money-laundering and fraud. Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried defrauded customers by using their crypto funds to pay for debts and expenses incurred by FTX's hedge fund, Alameda Research. He has been released on bail and is scheduled to go on trial in October.

Miami-Dade asks for right to remove FTX name from Heat arena 00:35

Anthony Sabino, a bankruptcy expert and law professor at St. John's University, said the FTX case shows local governments must be careful when selecting a company for building naming rights. 

"No doubt the owners of the Miami venue will have no trouble finding a suitable naming rights partner, but their recent travails with FTX aptly demonstrates that selling naming rights to a sports venue sounds like fun, until things start to race downhill," 

In 2021 Miami-Dade officials negotiated what was to be a 19-year, $135 million naming rights pact with FTX. Under the deal, which went into effect in June 2021, the Miami Heat were to receive $2 million annually. FTX was scheduled to make its next payment of $5.5 million the county on January 1.

—With reporting from the Associated Press

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