A federal bankruptcy court in the United States has terminated the FTX naming rights agreement for the Miami Heat basketball arena. The sports venue was named FTX Arena as part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar sponsorship deal between the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange and Miami-Dade County in 2021.
FTX signage and advertising to be removed from Miami sports center
The FTX naming rights contract for the Miami Heat arena was terminated Wednesday by a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware. According to the order, the contract between Miami-Dade County and what was once one of the largest digital asset exchanges ends retroactively, on Dec. 30, 2022.
From now on, the Miami Heat’s NBA stadium should no longer be officially called “FTX Arena“and county officials will be free to remove all signage, advertising and promotional materials bearing the FTX name and logo, U.S. media reported.
The basketball arena was named FTX as part of a $135 million, 19-year sponsorship agreement between the crypto-currency exchange platform and Miami-Dade County, effective June 2021. The next payment to the county, $5.5 million, was due Jan. 1, 2023.
Just after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November, the Miami Heat and Miami-Dade County said they were taking steps to end their business relationship with FTX and find a new naming rights partner.
After their announcement, a photo circulated on social media showing what appeared to be workers taking down the FTX sign on the roof of the building. The FTX brand is also on the basketball court and above the entrances to the arena. In his December 11 order, Judge John T. Dorsey stated that the termination of the naming rights would take effect immediately.
FTX, which had become a major crypto-currency exchange, collapsed amid liquidity problems, potentially leaving more than 1 million customers with losses totaling $8 billion. Its founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has resigned and a new management team has been appointed.
In December, SBF was arrested in the Bahamas, extradited to the U.S. and charged with several counts of defrauding customers and lenders, to which he pleaded not guilty. He has since been released on bail, with his trial scheduled to begin in early October.
In 2021, FTX entered into a number of other sponsorship agreements with teams and organizations in various sports. Shortly after securing the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s stadium, FTX became the official crypto-currency exchange of Major League Baseball (MLB).
Then, in September of the same year, the company signed a long-term sponsorship agreement with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. This partnership also ended after the bankruptcy filing, as Mercedes announced that its cars would no longer carry the FTX logo.