A monument to bankruptcy is coming down. The Sports Authority name is coming off the stadium which houses the Denver Broncos long after the company declared bankruptcy, closed down stores and sold the company’s intellectual property.
Broncos ownership had hoped to find a cash rich corporate partner that wanted to call the Broncos stadium by a corporate name for a third time in 16 years. But ownership struck out in 2017 and is hoping to find a partner in 2018. Corporate names come and go but sports journalists always seem eager to call a stadium or an arena by a corporate name and the buyer of the stadium or arena naming rights wants the sports media to use that name.
Nearly 17 years ago, the battle between the corporate naming rights holder of the football stadium in Denver and a Denver newspaper got out of hand as the financial service company was annoyed with the Denver Post’s ignoring the corporate name of the stadium. There is no reason media, unless the media is a TV or radio rights holder, should identify a corporate sponsor in reports.
Sports Authority signed the Broncos naming rights deal in 2011. It had marketing agreements with the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Galaxy, Minnesota Vikings, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. Being associated with teams did nothing for the company.
The company never had enough money to cover sports sponsorships. It stiffed Broncos ownership in 2016. Some CEOs want to be associated with sports and will make a vanity buy for naming rights and that happened in Oakland a decade ago with the Coliseum. But it is not clear if stadium or arena naming rights are worth the cost. The teams though want the money as do municipalities who get a share.
It is getting more difficult finding companies willing to pay tens of millions annually for naming rights as Broncos ownership found out.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.