With no one buying from federal bankruptcy court the balance of The Sports Authority’s naming-rights deal at Mile High Stadium, the Broncos have stepped in and stepped up.
The team announced on Wednesday that it will be taking over the contract moving forward.
“Pending court approval, the Denver Broncos have assumed the Metropolitan Football Stadium District’s contract for the naming rights to Sports Authority Field at Mile High,” the Broncos said in a statement. “This acquisition streamlines the process for securing the best possible long-term partnership for the naming rights to our stadium. As in the past, proceeds from stadium naming rights will be split 50-50 between the Broncos (who also provide sponsorship elements) and the [Metropolitan Football Stadium District]. . . . There is no timetable for securing a new naming rights agreement, and the name of the stadium—Sports Authority Field at Mile High — has not changed at this time. The Broncos look forward to working with the MFSD in establishing a new long-term relationship with a stadium naming rights partner.”
The move means that the Broncos will make the payments that The Sports Authority (or whoever may have bought the contract) would have made. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Broncos essentially bailed out the MSFD, expediting the process of selling the naming rights by removing the obligation from the bankruptcy court. It ensures there won’t be a missed payment (the next one, due August 31, exceeds $3 million), which means that funds will be available for stadium improvements and similar expenses.
The decision to allow the name of a defunct company to remain attached to the venue will seem odd to some. However, if the name would revert to “Mile High Stadium” only, it could be harder to sell the locals on the return of naming rights in the future.
So, basically, the thinking is that it’s better to have the stadium carry the name of a company that doesn’t exist in order to allow the name to be replaced with one from a real company later. If that’s the case, why not have a little fun and change it to “Vandelay Industries Field at Mile High Stadium”?