The Florida Panthers NHL ice hockey team is seeking a new naming rights partner for its home arena after an agreement was reached for financial services company BB&T to end its sponsorship of the venue with immediate effect.

The Arena Operating Company, a subsidiary of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, has commenced a search for a new sponsor for the venue, which will be known as FLA Live Arena in the interim.

BB&T, which is now known as Truist following a merger with SunTrust Banks, had held naming rights to the arena since 2012. The arena will no longer be known as BB&T Center after the Arena Operating Company and BB&T opted not to extend their partnership.

Shawn Thornton, the Panthers’ chief commercial officer, said: “We want to thank the leadership at BB&T, now Truist, for their loyal support and partnership for the past 11 years.

“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.”

Joe Smith, head of sponsorship and regional marketing at Truist, added: “We’re proud of our relationship with the Florida Panthers and grateful for the opportunity to partner with them to create a space – a premier sports and entertainment venue – for South Florida residents to make lasting memories.

“As we continue defining the Truist brand, we look forward to engaging with fans in meaningful ways.”

The arena, which has a capacity of 20,000, opened in 1998. The arena was known as Bank Atlantic Center from 2005 to 2012, having previously been called Office Depot Center and National Car Rental Center.

In December last year, BB&T Center became the first NHL arena to achieve the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.

The certification recognised the arena’s adherence to the IWBI’s stringent guidelines and protocols for combatting COVID-19 and preparedness to safely accommodate fans upon reopening.

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