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Miami Heat wants 10 more years on county arena deal


The Miami Heat and Miami-Dade County are negotiating a 10-year extension of the deal that lets the team play at the AmericanAirlines Arena and receive about $6.5 million a year in hotel taxes to subsidize operations.

On Wednesday, Heat executives met at County Hall with Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his top aides about extending the team’s original deal in exchange for the Heat launching a major upgrade of the 14-year-old arena.

The current deal expires in 2029, and the Heat said it wants to work out an extension through 2039 now in order to invest in more upgrades at the county-owned arena. A county commissioner is pushing the mayor to get the deal done by March.

Ed Marquez, the deputy mayor for finance, said the talks currently involve what kind of improvements the Heat are willing to make at the facility, which opened on the downtown waterfront in 2000.

“We want to see what kind of an arena we want to have. Then we can start talking about the terms of the contract,’’ Marquez said.

Heat executives declined interview requests Wednesday but have said in the past they want a new deal now in order to get ahead of renovations the arena will need in the coming years. Without significant investments, the team maintains, AmericanAirlines Arena will become dated and, eventually, unsuitable, for an NBA team.

More here.