The Miami Heat NBA basketball team has expressed its disappointment that AmericanAirlines Arena will not be used as a voting site for the US presidential election.
The Heat had been discussing the possibility of using the venue with local election officials for a number of months, believing that it could help make the voting process “open, accessible, safe and even exciting”.
The Heat said in a statement released on Friday that it was led to believe that it would be receiving an agreement to “solidify” the discussions and officially confirm AmericanAirlines Arena as a voting centre.
However, the team was informed that the nearby Frost Science Museum would be used instead. According to the Heat, the decision to use the museum was made and delivered “without further explanation”.
The team statement added: “NBA arenas all over the country, including just up the road in Orlando are getting approved as polling sites with little to no pushback. We were under the impression that approval was imminent.
“To say we are disappointed is a huge understatement. The arena is clearly a better site, with more visibility, more space, and more parking.
“But to the extent that forces involved in making this decision think this will quiet our voice on the critical importance of voting, they should know that we will not be deterred. The Miami Heat stands with the NBA and NBPA in their efforts surrounding voting. We will continue to make our voices heard and encourage Heat fans everywhere to vote.”
The NBA recently announced that efforts will be made for all team-owned arenas to be used as voting stations for the election. The Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena is owned by Miami-Dade County but the team had been hoping to strike an agreement with officials to open up the venue.
In other news, fellow NBA team the Golden State Warriors has announced that its Oakland Facility and Kaiser Permanente Arena, home of its G League affiliate, will both serve as polling sites and ballot drop-off locations Election Day.
Thrive City, the outdoor district surrounding the Warriors’ Chase Center arena, will serve as a ballot drop-off location for San Francisco County voters from October 31 to November 3.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning NHL ice hockey franchises have revealed that their arenas will be used as voting centres.
The Coyotes have teamed up with the City of Glendale and the Maricopa County Elections Department to provide Gila River Arena as a voting centre, with the venue to be open from October 28 to November 3. The arena will also serve as an early ballot drop-off location for voters.
The Lightning’s Amalie Arena will be open for early voting from October 19 to November 1.