The home arena of the Florida Panthers will once again be changing its name although for the first time since opening on the edge of the Everglades in 1998, it will not have a corporate name attached to it.
Florida Hockey Now has confirmed the Panthers’ arena in Sunrise will be called the FLA Live Arena for the coming season.
The team is currently looking for a new naming rights partner for 2022.
The Panthers officially announced the arena’s name change Tuesday afternoon.
“We want to thank the leadership at BB&T now Truist for their loyal support and partnership for the past 11 years,” Panthers COO Shawn Thornton said in the team’s official release.
“As we move forward in identifying a new naming rights partnership for the arena, we will seek to build on this incredible momentum with an innovative long-term partner that aligns with our culture, brand and growth trajectory as South Florida’s hockey market continues to grow exponentially.”
The Panthers will welcome players to the arena on Wednesday morning for physicals with training camp beginning Thursday.
The arena has been called the BB&T Center since 2012 and has had a corporate tie to either BankAtlantic or BB&T since 2005.
The name change comes in the wake of the massive BB&T/SunTrust bank merger.
The naming rights deal, which started in 2005 with BankAtlantic and continued after North Carolina-based BB&T bought the Fort Lauderdale financial institution, runs through the end of the 2021-22 NHL season.
But with the BB&T name being retired in February — and the Panthers and Truist agreeing to end their naming rights deal when it expires in 2022 — the decision was made to take the bank’s name off the building instead of simply renaming it “Truist Center/Arena” for a single season.
The Panthers are currently working on securing a new naming rights sponsor for the 2022-23 season.
Florida’s first event at the renamed arena is expected to be Sunday’s preseason doubleheader against the Nashville Predators although BB&T Center signage remains throughout the sprawling Sunrise site.
The Panthers are hoping to have the BB&T signage removed by the end of this month and have the new stuff up by the season opener Oct. 14 against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
The original BankAtlantic naming rights agreement is believed to have paid the Panthers an average of $2 million per year.
An updated version of this story will be published when the team officially announces the name change.
NAMING HISTORY OF THE FLORIDA PANTHERS’ SUNRISE ARENA
Broward County Civic Center (construction)
National Car Rental Center 1998-2002
Office Depot Center 2002-05
BankAtlantic Center 2005-12
BB&T Center 2012-21
FLA Live Arena 2021-present