Miami-Dade County is in discussions with cryptocurrency trading exchange FTX for the naming rights to Miami Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena, according to the Miami Herald.
The report suggested that a finalised deal is ‘getting closer’ between the two parties as the company, headed up by Sam Bankman-Fried, continues to hold talks.
The agreement would make the firm the first Bitcoin or blockchain-backed digital currency exchange to partner with a major professional sports venue in the US.
Miami-Dade County, which owns the facility and is legally responsible for managing the naming rights to the home of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team, has been on the lookout for a new sponsor after American Airlines’ deal came to an end in 2019, despite the venue continuing to be known by its original moniker.
According to the report by the American daily newspaper, the domain ftxarena.com has been purchased by an unidentified user, whilst social media accounts under the name of FTX Arena on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have all been created ahead of the proposed deal.
The previous agreement with the Texas-based airline, which spanned two decades from 1999, was said to be worth $2.1 million annually, although the terms of the potential contract with FTX have not been revealed.
At present, Miami-Dade County is required to pay the basketball franchise $2 million a year until a new naming rights sponsor can be secured, with the two sharing revenue despite the stadium being owned by the County.
The Heat currently sits fourth in the Eastern Conference rankings, with nine victories in the last 10 fixtures.