Miami tech company in talks to replace FTX as new sponsor for the Miami Heat arena

The Miami Heat’s brief era playing in the Miami-Dade Arena may be coming to an end before the playoffs as Miami-Dade County tries to land a new naming-rights deal with a global software company with headquarters on Brickell Avenue.

Kaseya is in talks with the administration of Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to finalize a deal for putting its name on the waterfront arena that’s owned by the county and managed by the Heat, Levine Cava’s office confirmed Thursday afternoon.

READ MORE: Miami Heat to play in FTX Arena after county approves $135M deal with crypto exchange

The potential deal follows the collapse of the arena’s prior sponsor: the FTX crypto exchange, which signed a $135 million naming-rights agreement in 2021 with Miami-Dade only to file bankruptcy late last year after fraud allegations and criminal charges against then-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

A bankruptcy court voided the county’s FTX agreement in January, and the facility is temporarily being called “the Miami-Dade Arena.”

Sources familiar with the talks say a deal is close with Kaseya, with the administration hoping to get a final agreement before the County Commission at its April 4 meeting. Clues about the potential agreement are already online.

In January, someone registered the website, roughly the same time that @kaseyaarena appeared on Twitter in an account that remains locked.

Radio personality Javier Romero, far left, joined Roland Sanchez-Medina Jr., Chairman, and Liliam M. Lopez, President-CEO, of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as they presented Fred Voccola, Kaseya CEO, with the SFLHCC’s Global Excellence in Technology & Innovation Award during the SFLHCC Havana in the 50s Gala at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

In a statement, Levine Cava’s office confirmed a deal may be close.

“Miami-Dade County is currently in active negotiations with Kaseya for a new naming rights agreement for the Miami-Dade Arena,” the statement read, using the arena’s temporary name after a bankruptcy court canceled the FTX agreement in January. “As soon as a potential deal is finalized we look forward to sharing more details with the Board of County Commissioners for their approval, and with our community.”

Commissioners last month approved a $4.6 million subsidy for Kaseya as an incentive for expanding its headquarters staff with 3,400 jobs. The money only gets paid if Kaseya hits the promised hiring targets in future years

Founded in 2000 in Silicon Valley, it relocated to Miami around 2015. At that time, it had about 50 employees. Today it has 4,500 employees worldwide.

Representatives of the Heat and Kaseya were not available for comment Thursday.

READ MORE: Kaseya on a hiring spree, and Miami-Dade pledges millions of goals met

If Kaseya lands the agreement, it would be the arena’s third corporate sponsor and the one that brings the lowest profile to the venue. The arena’s original naming-rights sponsor was American Airlines, followed by FTX, then a brand at the forefront of what was a crypto boom and, in Bankman-Friend, a CEO who earned fame as a “blockchain billionaire.”

Kaseya creates and markets business software.

No details of a potential agreement were released, including how much Kaseya wants to pay for the sponsorship agreement. FTX’s 19-year deal averaged $7 million a year, with $15 million paid through 2022 in the front-loaded agreement.

Levine Cava and commissioners pledged the FTX money to a string of new recreational and police programs under the “Peace and Prosperity Plan” aimed at curbing youth violence, so the loss of the sponsorship deal meant a budget crunch if the mayor couldn’t find a replacement.

Miami Herald staff writer Anthony Chiang contributed to this report.