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With the offseason behind us, players have finally returned to the field, but as the team trains ar Dove Valley, one question remains across town—what will they call home?
Sports Authority, a Colorado founded sporting goods store, opened its doors in 1987 to moderate success. The company was thriving in the late 2000’s and was able to purchase the naming rights to Mile High Stadium from Invesco on August 16th, 2011. The 25-year deal with Sports Authority was worth an estimated $6 Million a year to keep their name above the doors. Everything seemed to be going well, until the sporting giant missed two quarterly payments in March 2016, due to a pending bankruptcy.
“Right now, there [are] still some things proceeding in the bankruptcy court with the district, which owns the right to the actual name. We have a partnership with them on naming rights,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis told Denver reporters at the start of camp. “Ours is no longer in existence. We’re helping them and trying to find a new partner for it. I think it’s important that we do get one.”
When asked about the team’s relationship with the company, Ellis had nothing but good things to say.
“They were a great partner for us,” he explained. “I’m sad to see it happen to so many people and so many employees. We enjoyed our relationship with them. We did a lot together, not just with the stadium, but on other platforms. Certainly, something needs to be analyzed.”
With that being said, Ellis acknowledged the team learned from the partnership.
“You do as much as you can,” he said when asked if the team should have vetted Sports Authority more thoroughly. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in a changing economy that goes quickly with any particular company in any different sector. Certainly, there are some lessons learned in terms of how things went for Sports Authority.”
Now, seeing as this is Colorado and the marijuana industry is booming it should come as no surprise that a company that says they specialize in “custom vape pens” and calls itself “the leading brand in cannabis and offers the best vaporizing pens on the market” would want in on the action.
O.penVAPE, a collaborative effort that formed in 2012, made a serious offer to be the next marquee here in the Mile High City. O.penVAPE COO Jeremy Heidi has stated that he and his business are serious about the acquisition. “We’re a rapidly growing global business,” he told CBS. “We see the opportunity to align two iconic winning Colorado brands to reflect our state’s pioneering spirit and heritage.”
(They even have an example of what we might be seeing while driving on I-25)
Native Roots, another Marijuana dispensary chain around the Colorado area, has also thrown their hat into the ring but with the way current commissioner Rodger Goodell handles the use of marijuana league wide, it is unlikely to see this come to fruition, even though the use of it is legal here in the state of Colorado.
Ellis stated that upkeep of the stadium will cost around $300 Million over next 30 years, making the sponsorship money imperative to keeping the stadium where they would like it.
“Sports Authority stays on the stadium for now,” he concluded. “We’re working with the district to come up with some ideas for a new partner. We don’t have a real timetable on that, but hopefully at some point that will happen.”