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Denver Broncos Get Naming Rights to Mile High Stadium

If you are a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, this one will be music to your ears. It seems a bankruptcy judge has granted a request from Sports Authority to transfer the naming rights of Mile High Stadium back over to the Denver NFL football team. Sports Authority Holdings, Inc. failed to make its last contract payment and then made the name grant request.

The Broncos were in a position to pay out $19.9 million to buy out the last five remaining years of the contract, which the judge would have had to sign off on.1 However, after Sports Authority defaulted on their contractual payment court records show that Sports Authority made the name transfer request in Delaware, which is where it filed for bankruptcy protection back in March of 2016.

What Will Happen to the Stadium Name Going Forward?

sports authority field

Obviously, most Denver Broncos fans would like the team and the Metropolitan Football Stadium District to keep the name “Mile High Stadium” as part of the namesake. Some Broncos fans have even proposed naming the stadium after its long-time, ailing owner, Pat Bowlen.

The Broncos plan to keep the Sports Authority name in place until they can work out a long-term deal with another sponsor to help generate stadium revenue. The stadium’s manager, the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, has indicated that they need a long-term, sponsored naming contract in place to help with facility improvements. The Broncos sold the naming rights to Invesco in 2001 for $120 million. Sports Authority acquired the naming rights in 2011, when it inked a 25-year contract deal for $6 million per year. Apex Marketing Group Inc., a St. Clair, Michigan-based sports marketing firm, puts the estimated value of Mile High’s naming rights at a little more than $15 million per year.2

Mile High Naming Rights Controversy

"What’s the big deal about naming or branding a stadium?" you may ask. Well, to the fans of their beloved Denver Broncos, who enjoy one of the most successful NFL franchises in the history of football, it's a very big deal. The original stadium name of Mile High is derived after the city itself, which also has the nickname of the “Mile High City,” and there's even has a plaque on the steps of the State Capitol building to prove it.

So, when the Broncos sold the naming rights to the newly constructed stadium many fans were less than pleased. In fact, the Denver Post and its columnists refused to utter the name “Invesco” in its news copy when referring to Mile High Stadium, and instead referred to it as its old name. It took several years before the Denver Post changed its policy and began referring to the stadium as Invesco Field at Mile High.

Here are some of the stadium’s previous names:

  • Bears Stadium (Previous stadium, 1948-1968)
  • Mile High Stadium (Previous stadium, 1968-2001)
  • Invesco Field at Mile High (New stadium, 2001-2011)
  • Sports Authority Field at Mile High (New stadium, 2011-2016)

Contact a Denver Business Attorney at Downey & Associates, PC

Is your business in a contentious contract, sponsorship, or naming dispute? If so, call on the legal expertise of Denver Business Attorney Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and his team of legal professional at Downey & Associates, PC have been providing legal representation to clients for all kinds of business-related matters.

Our Denver business attorney and legal team have extensive experience handling complex matters of corporate and real estate law. Our clients can also trust that we will aggressively protect their rights and help them achieve the best possible outcomes in their sensitive legal matters.

Call our Denver business attorney today at (303) 813-1111 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. From our law offices in Englewood, we serve clients throughout Colorado and the U.S.


1“It's official: Broncos intercept naming rights at Sports Authority Field” published in Denver Business Journal, August 2016.

2“Stadium district in waiting game over disposition of Sports Authority’s Mile High Stadium naming rights” published in the Denver Post, June 2016.

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