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

Nov 22, 2022, 1:44 AM | Updated: 3:46 pm
The FTX Arena name is still visible where the Miami Heat basketball team plays Saturday, Nov. 12, 2...

The FTX Arena name is still visible where the Miami Heat basketball team plays Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Miami. Lawyers for FTX disclosed Tuesday that a “substantial amount" of assets have been stolen from the accounts of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange, diminishing the odds that its millions of investors will get their money back. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

MIAMI (AP) — Miami-Dade County has asked a federal bankruptcy court for immediate permission to end its naming rights deal with FTX and strip that brand off the arena where the NBA’s Miami Heat play.

In a motion filed Tuesday, the county — which owns the arena and negotiated the naming rights deal with FTX — said continuing to refer to the building as FTX Arena will only add to the “enduring hardships” brought on by the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.

“It does not appear that the Debtor will suffer harm from a termination of the Naming Rights Agreement,” the county wrote in its motion. “On the other hand, Miami-Dade County continues to supply valuable marquee naming rights and other benefits to the Debtor, to the detriment of the County’s ability to seek a new naming partner for the Arena.”

A hearing is set for mid-December. For now, FTX signage remains on the building and its name has not been changed.

Tuesday’s motion was hardly unexpected. FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11, and the county and the Heat began the process of terminating their relationship with the company that same day.

The FTX collapse has no shortage of ties to the sports world. A number of athletes — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, tennis player Naomi Osaka and Heat forward Udonis Haslem among them — were named as defendants last week in a class-action lawsuit against FTX. The suit argues that their celebrity status made them culpable for promoting the firm’s failed business model.

FTX entered into a number of other sports-related deals, including with Mercedes for Formula One racing and a sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball — whose umpires wore the company’s logo this past season. Mercedes has already taken the FTX logo off its race cars.

The building in Miami had been called FTX Arena since June 2021, and a 19-year, $135 million sponsorship agreement between FTX and the county was just getting started. FTX’s next payment due to the county is $5.5 million on Jan. 1.

The Heat were to receive $2 million annually as part of the deal.

FTX was the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, though it ended up with billions of dollars worth of losses before seeking bankruptcy protection. The Bahamas-based company and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, are under investigation by state and federal authorities for allegedly investing depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Latvia considers Olympic boycott if Russians compete

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Latvia will consider boycotting next year’s Paris Olympics if athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus are allowed to take part after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While various governments in Europe, including Latvia, have condemned the International Olympic Committee’s push to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete, and Ukraine has threatened […]
1 day ago
New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III, right, goes up for a basket as Denver Nuggets guard Jam...
Associated Press

Murray, Jokic help Nuggets hold off Pelicans 122-113

DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray is locked in right now — with his shot, with his swagger and especially with his confidence in his team. “It’s fun to play basketball,” the Denver point guard said. “But we still have room to improve. We’re not satisfied with where we’re at.” Murray scored 32 points, Nikola Jokic […]
1 day ago
FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) drives past Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker (...
Associated Press

Griner’s return, free agency raises charter flight concerns

Brittney Griner’s return to the WNBA this summer after being traded in a dramatic prisoner swap in December with Russia has collided with free agency, creating potential travel complications for the league out of safety concerns for her. If Griner, who is a free agent but has said she’ll return to Phoenix, needs special travel […]
1 day ago
Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton drives past Charlotte Hornets' Terry Rozier during the second half...
Associated Press

Bucks beat Hornets 124-115 for 5th consecutive victory

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton is making the most of his limited minutes as he works his way back from injuries that kept him from playing for much of the season. Middleton scored 18 points and sparked a third-quarter run that put the Milwaukee Bucks ahead for good as they beat the Charlotte Hornets 124-115 […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George, right, slaps the ball away from Chicago Bulls forward DeMar...
Associated Press

Leonard, Powell lead Clippers past Bulls, 108-103

CHICAGO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points and Norman Powell added 27 to help the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Chicago Bulls 108-103 on Tuesday night. Paul George added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who’ve won six of seven. Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bulls, […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) defends a shot by New York Knicks' RJ Barrett (9) during the ...
Associated Press

James has triple-double, leads Lakers past Knicks in OT

NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James will soon be the NBA’s top scorer, though that was never his focus. He’s also one of the game’s leading passers, and combining the two — possibly better than anyone ever — is what really makes him proud. “I didn’t get to this point in my career by thinking […]
1 day ago
Miami-Dade asks for right to remove FTX name from Heat arena