Just because American Airlines is taking its name off the downtown arena where the Miami Heat plays doesn’t mean the airline’s relationship with the team is over.
Despite choosing not to renew its naming rights to the Heat’s arena, the airline company announced Saturday an international partnership with the basketball franchise.
“Our expanded partnership with the Heat is the perfect opportunity to recognize Miami and the major role it plays in connecting our customers to the rest of the world,” said Janelle Anderson, American’s vice president for global marketing.
Previously, sponsors could only market within a 75-mile radius of the team. But under a new NBA program allowing teams to designate international sponsorship rights, American has been named as the Heat’s first international marketing partner. The airline now has the right to reach fans across the globe. That means the ability to post non-game team content, create contests that give fans a chance to win free trips and, most notably, present the Heat’s Vice uniforms.
American has been with the Heat since the arena first opened in 1999. In September, Miami Today reported that American was no longer in contention for the arena’s naming rights. That deal expires Dec. 31.
“Our naming rights partnership is the longest such deal in the history of professional sports in this region,” said Eric Woolworth, the Heat Group’s president of business operations. “Like many long-term partnerships, ours continues to evolve and has now expanded into the global marketing space.”