The Denver Broncos played all of the 2016 NFL season at Sports Authority Field, a stadium named for a retailer that went bankrupt a little more than a year ago. The 2017 season is still many months away, but the Sports Authority name still looms over the Broncos’ home turf.
Hilco Streambank, a company that helps companies value and sell their intellectual property, had been trying to sell the naming rights to the venue that everyone just calls Mile High Stadium, but not only does the NFL have to approve a new sponsor, the cost for naming rights may be prohibitive.
Sports Authority got a deal on the Mile High naming rights when it took them over from Invesco in 2011. Anyone looking to slap their brand on the field would need to sign a new naming rights contract, which comes at top dollar, especially since the Broncos are only one year removed from a Super Bowl win.
The team and the stadium district took the naming contract back before football season began last year. They may have been skittish to commit to a new sponsor after Sports Authority went out of business and the original sponsor, Invesco, sold the contract because it no longer sold its products directly to consumers.
Now, however, Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis says that the marketing agency representing the Broncos and the stadium could even have a deal done by the beginning of the 2017 season.
“I’m still optimistic we’re going to get a deal done prior to the season, but no promises because you have to get the right deal,” Ellis told TV station KDVR. It’s not just about which business offers the most cash, though bringing in more money to keep up the 16-year-old stadium would be helpful. The name has to be acceptable to the team, acceptable to the community, and must get approval from the NFL.
The community and the team will definitely appreciate not spending a second season with a field named after a defunct retail chain that was headquartered in Denver and took many local jobs with it when it went out of business.