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Heat arena gets new name

MIAMI (AFP) — The Miami Heat’s arena, which had been sponsored by failed crypto giant FTX, will be known as the Miami-Dade Arena until a new naming partner is found, the basketball team announced on Friday.

A federal bankruptcy court terminated the sponsorship deal on Wednesday, paving the way for the Heat to make their switch.

“Effective immediately, Miami-Dade County and the Miami Heat have agreed that until such time as there is a new naming rights partner, to refer to the arena as the Miami-Dade Arena,” the team said in a statement.

The Heat said that they would begin removing signage and branding related to the previous FTX Arena name.

FTX and the county, who own the venue, agreed to a planned $135 million 19-year naming rights deal for the arena in March 2021.

But the collapse of the crypto firm led the county and team to look for a way to drop the association.

As well as being home to the NBA’s Heat, the arena is also used for music and entertainment events.

FTX, once the world’s highest profile crypto exchange, collapsed spectacularly in November, leaving nine million customers in the lurch and seeing co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried indicted for fraud by American prosecutors.

Last week Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to US criminal fraud charges over the collapse.

The United States has charged Bankman-Fried with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and election finance violations.

Prosecutors allege he cheated investors and misused funds that belonged to FTX and Alameda Research customers.

Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to all eight counts against him — five of which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison each.

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