DENVER-- Just when you thought they couldn’t lose more; the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Rockies are all on track to be stripped of their special Colorado license plates due to poor sales.
(Before you write us-- yes, we know the Rockies are off to a good start this year and the Nuggets almost had a winning record this past season. More on that below.)
Under Colorado laws, most specialty license plates need to sell 3,000 copies in the first few years in order to avoid being retired.
The state department of revenue sends a warning letter when a license plate falls short and gives groups a grace period of one year to try to catch up. The Avalanche and Nuggets plates are in that probationary status now and face retirement if they can’t sell enough by July 1 of this year.
“The Denver Nuggets [were] issued this letter in June 2016, and the Colorado Rockies will be issued this letter in June of 2017,” said Kyle Boyd with the Colorado DMV.
Keeping the Nuggets license plate is lost cause at this point with only 453 plates sold as of the latest report at the end of February—the lowest of any major league sports team in Colorado.
As of Wednesday, the Nuggets need to sell more than 33 plates per day until the July 1 final deadline to reach the 3,000 plate minimum. In all of February, they sold only two. Barring a miracle, the Nuggets plate is toast.
The Avalanche have done better, but are still in trouble with only 2,277 Avalanche plates sold.
They need to sell 10 plates a day to make their target by July 1. They only sold ten in all of February.
Oh yeah, and neither team is in the playoffs right now—so they’re not in a great position to reach their fans with a call for help, much less convince them to spend the $95 to get their special plates.
The Rockies have another year to work on their license plate problem, so maybe a good season can help them get it done. Their plates cost a little more: $102.80. ($50 for the plate plus a $52.80 donation to the Rockies charity arm.)
They’ve only sold 1,896 plates so far and are on track to fall about 500 plates short of the 3,000 requirement if they keep selling the average 38 plates a month. The Rockies plate only sold 16 units in February, but that’s not exactly high time for baseball.
If they can keep up this season’s early performance and get fans interested, maybe the Rox have a shot of saving their plate.
The crappy sales coincide with crappy performance: the Rockies haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, the Nuggets haven’t had a post-season since 2013, and the Avs have been out of the playoff picture since 2014. All three teams lost in the first round those years.
If the state retires a license plate, it just means there won't be any new ones made. People who already have one can keep it as long as they want.
As you might imagine if you’ve spent more than five minutes in Colorado, the Denver Broncos plate is doing just fine and dandy.
The Broncos charity plate graces the rears of 17,985 vehicles in the state. The Broncos plate sold 133 units in February, despite the fact that Broncos fans had to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl that month.
COLLEGE PLATES ARE IN TROUBLE, TOO
College alumni plates in Colorado need to sell only 500 units to stay in production.
Fort Lewis College in Durango looks like it’s in trouble. The college only has 57 plates sold, but it has until January 2018 to reach 500 and avoid the warning letter.
Because college fans love to brag, here are all the alumni plates in the state, ranked:
- University of Colorado (11,743 plates)
- Colorado State (5,404)
- School of Mines (2,362)
- University of Northern Colorado (1,432)
- University of Denver (1,298)
- Colorado College (997)
- Metro State (788)
- Regis University (782)
- Western State (765)
- Mesa State (755)
- CSU Pueblo(731)
- Air Force (521)
- UCCS (169) retired July 2016
- Fort Lewis (57)
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the total number of license plates for Regis University due to an error in the data provided by the Department of Revenue.