SBJ/September 12 - 18, 2005/Facilities

BankAtlantic’s in, Office Depot’s out at Florida arena

Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and BankAtlantic agreed to a deal last week that changes the name of the Florida Panthers’ home from Office Depot Center to the BankAtlantic Center.

Office Depot’s stay at the Panthers’ home didn’t hit 10 years.
Sunrise Sports operates the Panthers and the 20,000-seat arena, which is located in Sunrise, Fla. The change is effective immediately for the Broward County-owned venue.

The deal is a 10-year contract with a 10-year option. Financial terms were not available.

In 2001, Delray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot Inc. signed a 10-year naming-rights deal for the venue valued at $1.4 million annually. Officials at Office Depot did not return phone calls concerning termination of that agreement.

The office supply store earlier this year began sponsoring a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car, and company officials said they planned to make NASCAR the center of the company’s sports promotion budget.

The arena opened in 1998 under the name National Car Rental Center.

BankAtlantic’s naming-rights deal follows the company last month signing an agreement to become the Panthers’ official bank. That agreement includes signage and ATMs in the arena, sponsorship of overtimes and sponsorship of the 7 p.m. faceoff for weekday games.

BankAtlantic is the principal subsidiary of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based BankAtlantic Bancorp. The bank has 75 branches, all in Florida, with about 60 in South Florida. With $6.4 billion in assets as of June 30, it ranks as the second-largest bank based in South Florida.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based BankUnited, which tops that asset list, had been the Panthers’ official bank since 2001.

Jim Freer writes for the South Florida Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

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