The Denver Broncos are likely to acquire the naming rights for Mile High Stadium in Denver.
The Sports Authority, which is bankrupt, plans to sell the final five years of its naming-rights contract to the Broncos, according to filings made late Tuesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, via the Denver Post.
"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 Wednesday morning. "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 MFSD.
"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 Denver Business Journal reported the Broncos are willing to pay $19.9 million to assume the naming rights.
"The Metropolitan Football Stadium District (MFSD) was informed that a motion was filed in a Delaware Court for the Denver Broncos to assume the naming rights contract for Sports Authority Field at Mile High," the Metropolitan Football Stadium District said in a statement. "The filing of bankruptcy by Sports Authority had left uncertainty in the future of the naming rights of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Denver Broncos assuming the naming rights offers some clarity in the future of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
"In anticipation of a potential court decision, the District Board directed the staff to prepare a request for proposals (RFP) to seek a valuation for a new naming rights partner. Those efforts will continue as both the court and District processes move forward.
"Pending court approval, the Denver Broncos will assume the MFSD contract with Sports Authority.
"Naming rights revenue is primarily used for capital improvements extending the life of the stadium well into the future, attempting to avoid need for public funding. The District and the Denver Broncos are currently conducting a facilities conditions assessment of the stadium and surrounding campus. Preliminary numbers indicate over $300 million will be needed over the next 30 years to maintain the facility."
The hearing on the motion is scheduled for Aug. 31. The Broncos will look for another stadium naming rights partner, although there is no timetable.
Under the agreement, the Broncos would take over the naming-rights contract, which expires in 2021. The Broncos would also assume a $3.6 million payment that was due Monday.
"It was important for us to step up and assume this contract to expedite the shared goal we have with the Metropolitan Football Stadium District of finding a new naming rights partner," Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. "Together with the MFSD, we understand how important naming rights are to the future of our stadium."
Ray Baker, chairman of the MFSD, also issued a statement, which read, "This will allow the District to work closely with the Broncos to secure the best possible outcome for a new naming right partner. The District looks forward to working with the Broncos over the next weeks and months to secure the best deal."