The AmericanAirlines Arena, home of National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise the Miami Heat, is close to securing a new naming rights partner with cryptocurrency platform FTX.
A deal between the Miami Heat and FTX would make it the first time an NBA franchise has sealed a deal with a Bitcoin and other blockchain-backed digital currencies.
FTX would also become the first crypto exchange to sponsor a major professional sports venue in the US.
Launched in 2019, FTX has bases within Hong Kong and San Francisco and according to the Miami Herald, has been registering domain names ftxarena.com and FTX Arena accounts across social media.
Among those reportedly linked with a deal include TD Bank and Network Capital after it was confirmed that there would be no extension to the American Airlines deal, which expired in 2019 and was reportedly worth US$2.1 million.
Miami-Dade County has been paying the heat US$2 million a year since the end of the American Airlines contract, with the arena still opting to use its name.
Reports have suggested that the length of the new deal will run until the 2029/30 NBA season.
According to Sportico's 2021 NBA Franchise Valuations Report, the Heat are currently worth US$2.38 billion, making them the 12th most valuable franchise out of a possible 30.
Author: Jake Wilkin