It is official: the name of the home of the Miami Heat is changing from the American Airlines Arena to the FTX Arena.
On Mar. 25, 2021, after a Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners special meeting, the arena’s naming rights sold for $135 million to FTX Trading LLD, a cryptocurrency exchange company.
The agreement also calls for FTX to collaborate with Miami-Dade to support technology and Fintech education, financial wellness for residents and other programs. FTX donated an additional $5 million to Miami-Dade County separate from the deal to help the community thrive.
Newly elected Mayor Francis Suarez had made this one of his top priorities. Mayor Suarez hopes to make South Florida the Silicon Valley of the South. While his powers in City Hall remain limited, he has become Miami’s most visible and ambitious supporter. His emphasis on tech education helped the name change be swiftly approved. Miami should expect more and more companies like FTX to come to the city as Mayor Suarez tries to build a tech mecca.
Miami Palmetto Senior High senior Iris Vanderveen appreciates the complexity of the issue and the benefits it can bring to the community.
“It is almost amusing that the saying ‘money makes the world go round holds true in almost every situation. In this case, a cryptocurrency exchange company will be renaming an arena,” Vanderveen said. “It’s certainly a good marketing tool, since many Miami Heat fans will talk about the FTX Arena in the future. But besides that, there doesn’t seem to be a purpose. On the plus side, Miami-Dade County will likely receive money toward education and research.”
The building along Biscayne Boulevard has gained prominence as the American Airlines Arena since its opening on New Year’s 1999. In its time, the Miami Heat won three championships while making five NBA Finals appearances, most prominently during the days of the “Big Three” led by LeBron James, Dwyane wade and Chris Bosh. The stadium served as the heart of the city in the team’s glory days.