Englewood, Colo. — The name of the Denver Broncos’ stadium could be changing again in the near future.
Sports Authority, one of the nation’s largest sporting retailers, and the naming rights holder for the Broncos' home stadium, is reportedly preparing to file chapter 11 bankruptcy.
A report released Thursday evening by Bloomberg news indicates the company owes a $20 million interest payment on a $343 million loan that is set to mature in 2018. According to the report, the Englewood, CO based retailer intends to file for bankruptcy protection to avoid making the payment.
In 2011, Invesco, the original naming rights holder for the stadium, decided to re-orient its marketing philosophy away from large naming rights agreements like the one they had held with the Broncos since the new building was constructed in 2001.
Sports Authority stepped in to fill the void, agreeing to finish out the 20-year agreement at a cost of $6 million per year. That contract has approximately $30 million remaining on its life and is not set to expire until July of 2021. However, the bankruptcy filing is a clear indicator that the deal could be in jeopardy.
Purchasing expensive naming rights for large sports complexes are often risky business ventures. As ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell said late Thursday night, “Sponsoring stadiums doesn’t lead companies to bankruptcy. More often, companies that sponsor stadiums are bad at cost-benefit analysis.”
For the first decade and a half of the new stadium’s existence, many fans have refused to adopt the buildings corporate names, preferring to still refer to it as “Mile High Stadium.” Those fans may wind up getting their wish in the near future.
The Broncos responded to Mile High Huddle's request for comment with the following:
"Sports Authority has been an excellent partner with our organization for the past 10 years. During this period, they made every payment as part of our sponsorship and naming rights agreements. We have no additional comments on today's reports."
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