After 20 years, American Airlines and the arena the Miami Heat call home are breaking up. Many new suitors are sure to line up for the right to slap their name onto the digital marquee, but one bid is standing out: BangBros.
The Miami-based, self-proclaimed “World’s Best Porn Site” announced on Twitter last week it had submitted a legitimate $10 million offer to fill the hole left by the Heat’s former partner.
The company's preference for renaming the arena is the "BangBros Center," or "BBC." Clever.
This renaming should happen if only for pure comedic reasons. But, alas, it won’t. Part of the problem is, of course, image. A mostly black NBA team playing at an arena called the BBC and sponsored by an adult film site that owns properties such as Ass Parade, My Dirty Maid, and the one that started it all, Bang Bus, isn’t exactly a family-friendly look.
But the other important part of the equation is the money. When American Airlines secured the rights for the arena, it shelled out $42 million over the span of several years beginning in 1999. At the time, critics argued that the company got the naming rights for a bargain. BangBros is offering a fourth of that amount for a decade, but that amount still doesn’t seem like enough to make the Miami Heat the target of endless dick jokes.
In the statement announcing its bid, BangBros declared that having it as the arena’s sponsor “doesn’t get much more Miami.” We politely disagree. Here are five very Miami companies that could be apt naming partners.
Café con Leche Center
Sponsor: Café Bustelo.
Few other cultures or countries have meant more to Miami than Cuba (unless you count Colombia, which practically built the downtown skyline with a certain powdered export). So who better than Café Bustelo — a Cuban institution at the heart of so many cafecitos and simmering in perhaps thousands of cafeteras on stovetops around the Magic City at this very minute — to be what flavors our morning commutes and our evenings at the arena? Not many other companies would be as fitting — as long as it doesn’t bother you that the all-American jelly company J.M. Smuckers has owned Café Bustelo since 2011.
¡Dale! or ¡Culo! or ¡Toma! (or Any Other Single Word Shouted in Spanish) Dome
Sponsor: Miami Grill and Pitbull.
Miami Grill — previously named Miami Subs — is quintessential Miami: gaudy, tacky, and loud. It should come as no surprise, then, that a man who proudly embodies all of those qualities, Pitbull, is a majority owner and ambassador of the venerated gyro-and-orange-French-fries franchise. Considering the shady Mafia connections in Miami Grill’s past, the neon palette, and the flamingo-rocking-sunglasses aesthetic (think Pat Riley’s slicked-back hair and the Vice Nights unis), we think this seemingly weird pairing might make the most sense.
Joe Robbie Arena
Sponsor: Miami Dolphins.
The logic behind this one is simple: If the Dolphins sponsored the Heat's arena, at least their brand would be associated with one winning sports franchise. Plus, if the venue was named for Dolphins founder Joe Robbie, Miamians would be able to mentally travel back to a time when our NFL team wasn’t a runaway train of dumbfuckery and embarrassment.
Pub Sub Pavilion
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There are few things Floridians — particularly Miamians — can agree on unanimously, let alone gush over, with a complete lack of irony. Publix, "Where Shopping Is a Pleasure," is one of those Sunshine State institutions we love yet have a difficult time verbalizing exactly why. Our money is on the deli/bakery section because Miamians love their Pub Subs. Naming rights would be a tough sell in this case because Publix has had its share of controversies — from donations to the NRA to discrimination against memebers of the LGBT community — but can we at least talk about it over a chicken tender Pub sub?
The TropiChop Bowl
Sponsor: Pollo Tropical.
Yes, the Heat's arena isn’t technically a bowl because it has a roof, but think of it as the plastic lid on your takeaway container that keeps the food hot — or, you know, keeps the "Heat" in. Eh? No? Not feeling the dad joke? Regardless, Pollo Tropical sells black beans, ropa vieja, and yuca in a fast-food setting. The combo of speeding on U.S. 1 or the Palmetto while black beans splash in a container in the passenger seat is endemic to daily life in Miami, and the name of the Heat's home should reflect that fact.