In brief

  • Crypto exchange FTX is reportedly in talks with Florida's Miami-Dade County to buy naming rights to the Miami Heat's stadium.
  • The company’s sponsorship interest is possibly related to the NFT craze. Miami Heat shooting guard Tyler Herro is an NFT posterboy.

Hong Kong-based crypto exchange FTX is reportedly in negotiations with Florida’s Miami-Dade County authorities over a sponsorship deal to rename the stadium of the NBA's Miami Heat, according to the Miami Herald, which cited unnamed sources. Miami-Dade County owns and operates the stadium.

The basketball arena has been named after its sponsor American Airlines since 1999. If the sponsorship talks are successful, the stadium would change its name to FTX Arena, the Herald reported.

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried responded to CoinDesk’s inquiry about the potential sponsorship deal by merely sending the curious eyes emoji: 👀. He declined to comment further to Decrypt. Miami Heat could not be reached by press time.

The domain name ftxarena.com is already registered by an unidentified party. That could mean that FTX is close to a deal—or that someone sniped them on the domain name when they saw news of the potential deal.

NBA and Crypto: A History

The intersection between crypto and basketball isn’t new-—in fact, it’s booming, mostly thanks to NBA Top Shot, a crypto collectibles trading card game.

As Decrypt's Editor in Chief Daniel Roberts recently wrote, the NBA's success with NFTs can be largely chalked up to it being the most social media-savvy sports league.

That allows the NBA to sell high-worth tokens via a collectors' site called Top Shot, run by Dapper Labs, the company that created CryptoKitties, a cute collection of expensive NFT cats that were popular in 2017.

The company’s sponsorship interest in a physical basketball arena could come off the back of the NFT craze. After all, Miami Heat shooting guard Tyler Herro has been one of the NBA players most actively associated with NFTs.

Miami, the "Magic City," has been no stranger to crypto.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has fast become one of the most crypto-friendly politicians in the US. He proposed that his city pay part of public sector employee salaries in Bitcoin, and wanted to invest the city's treasury in Bitcoin, among other things. Last month, he told Decrypt that he was thinking of investing personally in crypto—perhaps he's even bought the dip by now.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.