The Metropolitan Football Stadium District, the entity that manages the stadium where the Denver Broncos play, is convening later today to determine whether Invesco Funds Group, current owner of the stadium's naming rights, will be allowed to sell its interest to the Denver based sporting goods company, Sports Authority. If approved, the Broncos would open September 12th against the Oakland Raiders at the newly renamed stadium.
Let's be honest here. Nobody ever came to really embrace the "Invesco" moniker. The first time we went through this, the phrase "at Mile High" was added to appease the fans that were made angry by the commercialization of our hallowed football field. Since then, everyone from sports casters to Tim Tebow have, at one time or another, bypassed the Invesco portion of the name and have referred to it simply as Mile High or Mile High Stadium.
Of course, Invesco has always been an odd business to associate with a football stadium. It doesn't have the kind of product recognition that other Denver based arenas and stadiums enjoy. Pepsi Center and Coors Field carry a certain cache, while poor Invesco has been a bit of an enigma to just about everyone outside the investment industry.
I'm going to venture out here into probably the safest position one could take here on MHR... I'd love for the Stadium District to decline Sports Authority's offer and revert the stadium name back to simply Mile High Stadium (or perhaps drop a "new" in there like they did with "New Arrowhead Stadium" even though it is clearly the same stadium - you can't sneak that by me!). I know that such wishful thinking isn't going to happen. According to this article in the Denver Post from last week, the naming rights deal is worth $120 Million and is split 50/50 by the Broncos and the Stadium District. With that kind of cash at stake, I'm sure they could care less who the buyer is so long as the check is good. Frankly, we should be happy that we're not about to start a season in "Dr. Scholls Bunion Powder Staduim at Mile High"...
Suddenly, the Sports Authority acquisition doesn't sound so bad does it?
So what other changes will we see? Instead of the Invesco logo on the media background during press conferences, we'll more than likely see the red Sports Authority logo. With any luck they'll have the awareness that red isn't a color that goes well with the Broncos color scheme and make it either orange, white or blue. Frankly, I am not terribly excited about joining the ranks of the Patriots or Seahawks with their obnoxious Dunkin' Doughnuts or Oberto processed meat logos that don't match the team colors. Perhaps I am just being picky. Does that really matter?
When it comes to renaming the stadium, I hope they make it easy on the fans. Sports Authority Field at Mile High doesn't easily roll off the tongue, nor does it lend itself to a fun acronym - SAFMH (best pronounced "Save Me?"). It's just awkward. My suggestion is to call it Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium (not a big change, but a meaningful one). It's a balanced approach that reveres the past and embraces the future. As Invesco Field at Mile High, the name just kind of hung there unfinished. At "a" mile high? At "exactly a" mile high? At "Mile High Stadium?" Just as I get used to the awkward phrasing of it, they go and change it on me. Such is the financial reality of today's NFL. For better or for worse, I'll still show up regardless of what it's called. As long as there's a horse atop the southern scoreboard I'm content. To me it will always be Mile High and no amount of money one party gives to another will ever change that.