The Heat are gearing up to host their first-ever NBA Finals game since the April renaming of their basketball arena.
Miami will host the Nuggets for the first time of the season-ending series in a game the home team hopes will continue a string of victories at the newly named Kaseya Center. Since the Heat announced the new naming rights deal in early April, they have gone 8-3 at home, including 6-2 in the playoffs.
Of course, many NBA fans came to find the Heat's home court with American Airlines, which held the naming rights deal for several years before the franchise entered into a partnership with Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The latter deal ended in disaster not only for FTX, but also the Heat and Miami-Dade County at large, prompting the name change to the Kaseya Center.
Here's everything you need to know about the Heat arena's name change, from the collapse of FTX to details of Kaseya, the new naming rights holder.
Why did Heat change arena name to Kaseya Center?
The Heat on Nov. 11, 2022 announced it had terminated its naming rights deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX, the previous naming rights holder for the arena. That same day, FTX and its affiliates declared bankruptcy amid reports they owed investors $8 billion.
The Heat and Miami-Dade County, the latter of which owns and operates the team's basketball arena, released a joint statement on Nov. 11 to announce the name change:
The reports about FTX and its affiliates are extremely disappointing. Miami-Dade County and the Miami Heat are immediately taking action to terminate our business relationships with FTX, and we will be working together to find a new naming rights partner for the arena.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), Miami-Dade County agreed to give naming rights to FTX in March 2021. The deal was worth $135 million over 19 years. (The arena had only placed the FTX logo on its roof that October).
A bankruptcy court officially terminated the deal in January 2023, after which the stadium briefly took on the moniker "Miami-Dade Arena" as the county sought a permanent naming rights partner. The county gave the deal to Kaseya, a Miami-based software company, on April 4, 2023.
An ESPN report indicates the deal is worth $117.37 million over 17 years; the majority of that will go to the county, but the Heat will also receive $2 million annually.
"The collapse of our previous partner (FTX) caught everyone by surprise but, in conjunction with Miami-Dade County, we worked efficiently and incredibly quickly to fill our naming rights vacancy with Kaseya," Heat business operations president Eric Woolworth said in a statement.
What is Kaseya?
According to a release from the Heat (via NBA.com), Kaseya — headquartered in Miami, Fla. — is a privately held software company with roughly 48,000 customers and 4,500 employees operating out of 25 countries.
The release claims the country is "the leading provider of unified IT & security management software for IT professionals."
Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava had this to say when the naming rights deal with Kaseya was announced:
"We are proud to close this deal with a locally based company for the first time in the history of the arena," she said. "Since Kaseya relocated its headquarters to Miami, it has demonstrated a real commitment to invest in our economy and our local talent by opening the door to the jobs of the future.
"This deal will not only allow us to continue investing in critical crime prevention programs, it will also strengthen our brand as a global, diverse and future-ready community."
Heat arena name history
American Airlines Arena (1999–2021)
To date, American Airlines is the longest naming rights holder for the arena. It held the rights from its opening in 1999 through 2021 when FTX officially was named the new partner.
As part of its sponsorship arrangement, American Airlines had a giant aircraft painted atop the arena's roof, complete with the company logo in the center. The signage was visible from planes taking off from nearby Miami International Airport.
American Airlines opted not to renew its naming contract in September 2019. Miami-Dade County did not sell the naming rights until March 2021, through which time the Heat's home court was still called American Airlines Arena.
FTX Arena (2021–2023)
The stadium was known as FTX Arena for just over two years before the cryptocurrency exchange's collapse in late 2022. It was not officially changed until Jan. 13, 2023.
Miami-Dade Arena (January-April 2023)
Once FTX Arena was officially removed as the naming rights partner, the Heat's home court operated as "Miami-Dade Arena" until a permanent naming rights partner could be found.
Kaseya Center (April 2023-present)
Ultimately, Miami-Dade County chose locally based Kaseya as the naming rights holder for the Heat's arena — certainly with the expectation that the deal will last longer than the previous one.