The naming rights agreement between FTX and Miami-Dade County was canceled by a federal bankruptcy court. The measure allows the brand of cryptocurrencies be removed from the arena where you play the team NBA Miami Heat.
Judge John Dorsey gave the green light to the request of the two parties to end the agreement sealed in March 2021. The deal called for the stadium to bear the name of FTX Arena for 19 years, in exchange for $135 million. The Heat would receive $2 million a year as part of that deal.
The county, owner of the facility, asked to break the contract after the declaration of FTX bankruptcy last November.
The order means that in a short time, and probably very soon, all signs and advertising of FTX in the arena. There was no immediate word from the Heat or the county on when the process will begin.
The FTX brand is currently on the roof of the stadium, on the basketball court, at many of the entrances, on the polo shirts worn by the security and even in many of the electronic cards that employees use to access the facilities.
Terminating the rights agreement “will be effective immediately upon entry of this order,” anticipated the United States bankruptcy judge.
The next payment of FTX to the county should have been 5.5 million, on January 1. His founder, Sam Bankman-Fried30, was arrested last month in the Bahamas and extradited to the United States to face criminal charges in what US Attorney Damian Williams has called “one of the biggest frauds in American history.”
New bidder for Miami Heat
The order that ended the agreement with FTX now allows the owners of the Miami Heat stadium to seek new bidders and partnerships for the building.
Legal analyst David Weinstein addressed the case.
“Their short-term goal, both in submitting their own application and in becoming the grant recipients of this motion, is that it will no longer be the FTX Arena. They will, of course, have whatever remedies may be available under the contract to recover any money lost. But given the nature of the way it all went down, I think it’s one of those situations where you cut ties, put it behind you, and move on to the future.”
Now Miami-Dade will have to decide what the county will do with the money already received by FTX in the settlement. Or turn the money over to the bankruptcy court overseeing the FTX case. The $213 million, 18,000-seat facility it opened in 1999 as the American Airlines Arena.
In November 2021, rival cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com signed a deal worth $700 million. It was with the owners at the time Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.
Bankman-Fried remains on probation after agreeing to one of the highest bails in US history, at $250 million.
The alleged fraudster, who faces a maximum of 115 years in prison if convicted of all the crimes in this case, is scheduled to start trial on October 2.
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NBA’s Miami Heat to remove all FTX advertising