Broncos secure naming rights contract for Sports Authority Field at Mile High

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos have emerged as the highest bidder to assume the contract for naming rights to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the team said Wednesday. The move is pending approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“This acquisition streamlines the process for securing the best possible long-term partnership for the naming rights to our stadium," the Broncos said in a statement. "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).

Sports Authority went into bankruptcy earlier this year and had been trying to sell the rights since March. No new company came forward to put its logo on the home of the Super Bowl champions.

Sports Authority had five years left on its contract worth $19.2 million. It was due to make a $3.6 million payment on Monday, but when it missed the deadline, the retailer was in breach of its contract.

Sports Authority, which has had its name on the stadium since 2011, enlisted Hilco Streambank to market the contract. It said several companies expressed interest, but no cash bid for the contract was received, according to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing late Tuesday.

Hilco Streambank received an offer from the Broncos, who were determined to be the "highest and best available bid," according to the filing.

The Broncos will assume the contract, including making the $3.6 million payment that was due Monday. Sports Authority will pay the Broncos $50,000, according to the court filing.

"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 said.

The Broncos will release all claims against Sports Authority if the deal is approved, according to the court filing.

“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. "Together with the MFSD, we understand how important naming rights are to the future of our stadium.”

The football district, the public entity that owns the stadium, said it relies on the revenue from naming rights to help pay for stadium upkeep, which is expected to cost about $300 million over the next 30 years.

“This will allow the District to work closely with the Broncos to secure the best possible outcome for a new naming right partner," district chairman Ray Baker said. "The District looks forward to working with the Broncos over the next weeks and months to secure the best deal.”