For the sixth time since it opened a quarter century ago, the Florida Panthers’ home will have a new name.
Beginning this month, the Panthers will play in Amerant Bank Arena, marking the team’s 26th year in Sunrise. The arena had been called FLA Live Arena the past two years, while the team looked for a new naming rights partner.
The Coral Gables-based Amerant — which is opening a headquarters in Plantation and identifies itself as the largest community bank headquartered in Florida — won naming rights in a multiyear deal. Amerant Bank CEO and chairman Jerry Plush said it’s a five-year deal, but financial terms were not revealed.
Amerant had been a corporate sponsor for the Panthers during the past three seasons.
“With the Panthers, we have had a really great relationship,” Plush said. “It has been mutually beneficial for both sides. We’ll do co branded debit cards and checks. We felt the Panthers were in great position and that has been rewarded with increased exposure. It’s great to be associated with a winning team. It’s very similar to how we look at UM and the Heat.”
The last time the Panthers’ arena had a corporate name, it was also a bank: BB&T.
But BB&T decided not to renew after merging with SunTrust Banks to form Trust Financial Corporation in 2021.
The arena opened in 1998 as the National Car Rental Center, then became Office Depot Center in 2002, Bank Atlantic Center in 2005 and BB&T Center in 2012.
This time, Panthers management and Amerant opted for “Arena” over “Center.”’
The Panthers’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals — where they lost to Las Vegas — triggered renewed interest in naming rights to the arena.
“it’s important to be with the right partner,” Panthers CEO Matt Caldwell said. “To have Amerant step up and become the new naming rights partner is great.”
Meanwhile, the playoff run appears to have given ticket sales a significant boost.
Panthers season tickets, which once lagged in the 3,000 range under past ownership, have now topped 10,000, according to a source. The lower bowl is nearly sold out of season ticket inventory.
The arena has a seating capacity of about 19,250.
The Panthers open training camp on Sept. 21 and open the regular season on Oct. 12 at Minnesota.