Names come and go.
For Miami-Dade County and Micky Arison, the Miami Heat owner, a change is going to come. American Airlines is going into the final year of holding the naming rights to the Miami arena that houses Arison’s Heat National Basketball Association business and Arison won’t be the person looking for a new naming rights marketing partner. That is now the local government’s job. Miami-Dade County might be able to sell the rights for more than the $2 million annual payment Arison gets from American Airlines and use anything the county gets from the naming rights that would exceed two million dollars to chip away at the Heat’s public subsidy that Arison gets for using the building which is about $5.5 million per fiscal year.
In 2014, Heat lawyers signed off on a deal with Miami Dade County that allowed the municipality starting in 2020 to sell the naming rights instead of the team. Local politicians are hoping that some company would jump at the opportunity to pay big money to put its name on that arena. Miami-Dade County is hoping the bidding for the naming rights starts at six million dollars annually. Names come and go with companies who had naming rights such as Miller Beer in Milwaukee or American Airlines in Miami or AT &T in San Francisco or Banker’s Life in Indianapolis deciding to get out of the venue rights naming business. It is unclear if putting a name on an arena or a stadium is worthwhile or if a company CEO wants to spend millions to put a name on a shingle for vanity purposes. The Miami building is subsidized from local hotel taxes as the county takes a piece of the tax and redirects it to the Heat business which technically pays the debt on the building. Miami-Dade County owns the building and the land that houses the arena.