Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the $117 million naming-rights agreement for the Miami Heat's county-owned arena in which Kaseya, a software company headquartered in Miami, supplants the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.
As reported by the Miami Herald, the 17-year agreement mostly matches the promised payments that disappeared from the arena’s prior sponsor, which collapsed into bankruptcy late last year. FTX had replaced American Airlines as the naming sponsor in 2021.
Upon Tuesday’s approval, the name of the Heat’s home arena immediately changed to Kaseya Center (pronounced kuh-SAY-ah). The Kaseya logo is expected to already be on the Heat’s court for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Magic.
Heat president of business operations Eric Woolworth said the Heat has “been involved from the beginning helping [Miami-Dade] County find the right partner, helping the negotiations proceed.”
“We’ve been pretty involved,” Woolworth said. “I think what the story is here is how quickly we were able to pivot and move on from FTX and find not only a new partner, but Kaseya is a local company. They’re hiring a lot of people here, it’s a great story and I think everybody is really happy with the outcome.
“I think the whole thing is a tribute to [county Mayor Daniella Levine Cava] and her leadership and [county chief operating officer] Jimmy Morales, they’ve all been just incredibly professional and focused on this issue and they gave it the time that it deserved. So I think we’re happy, I know Kaseya is happy and I think the county is happy.”
The Heat negotiated the naming-rights deal with American Airlines in the 1990s, but Miami-Dade exercised its option to take over naming rights in 2018 in exchange for guaranteeing the team a $2 million yearly payment starting in 2020. Those $2 million annual payments will continue under the agreement with Kaseya, the Herald reported.
The new agreement also continues to reserve sponsorship money for the county to fund programs aimed at reducing gun violence as part of the “Peace and Prosperity Plan,” which was part of Miami-Dade’s previous agreement with FTX.
“Honestly, one of the things about the deal that we are most proud of is that the anti-gun violence program at the county is going to continue to get funded without any interruption,” Woolworth said. “That was part of the rush, as well. We wanted to make sure that the county was made whole and could continue to fund that program, which we think is really important.”
According to Anthony Chiang of the Herald, the Heat is also entering its own “long-term partnership” with Kaseya to make the company “the official IT solutions partner of the Miami Heat.”
The hope is that this will be the building’s final name change for the foreseeable future. The switch to FTX Arena in June 2021 marked the venue’s first name change since it opened in 1999 on New Year’s Eve, but it has since been changed to The Arena before becoming Miami-Dade Arena a few days later in January after the agreement with FTX was terminated.
All of the FTX signage around the arena and on its roof has been gone for months, Chiang reported.