Exchange with cryptocurrency derivatives The Miami Heat are reportedly in negotiations with FTX to take over the naming rights to its downtown Arena.
According to the Miami Herald, FTX is attempting to become the first cryptocurrency firm to take over the sponsorship naming rights of an NBA stadium, citing inside sources familiar with the situation.
Interestingly, Miami-Dade County owns the Miami Heat’s multipurpose arena, which has been without a paying title sponsor since American Airlines chose not to extend its deal as the previous stadium-naming rights owner at the end of 2019.
Despite the fact that the offer fell through, the stadium kept its name, and Miami-Dade County was forced to pay the Miami Heat $2 million a year as a result of the loss of income from not having a paying sponsor for the arena’s naming rights.
The initial agreement with American Airlines was signed in 1999, and the annual sponsorship deal for the naming rights cost the airline about $2.1 million a year over the course of the 20-year contract.
Although neither the Miami Heat, the County, nor FTX have made any official announcements regarding the new sponsorship contract, internet sleuths have found that FTX has registered the “ftxarena.com” Internet domain and purchased the FTXarena social media handles ahead of the deal.
Given the NBA’s ongoing partnership with the cryptocurrency community via the NFT NBA TopShots platform, FTX’s move may be the next phase in the sport’s symbiotic relationship with the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Sam Bankman-Fried is also making waves.
FTX was introduced in June 2020 by renowned cryptocurrency trader Sam Bankman-Fried and has seen tremendous growth in the last nine months. It began with just six cryptocurrencies on its spot exchange and has since expanded to include a wide range of trading pairs as well as derivatives trading.
Late last year, Bankman-Fried made headlines after it was reported that he was a high-profile supporter of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. He also played a key role in assisting SushiSwap, a decentralized finance network, in regaining its footing after its creator nearly pulled off an exit scam in September 2020.