No more INVESCO: Sports Authority Field at Mile High

9:16 PM, Aug 16, 2011   |    comments
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Denver Broncos guide: 2011-2012 season

The Metropolitan Football Stadium District agreed on the deal Tuesday afternoon after negotiations with Sports Authority representatives to determine the new name for the home of the Denver Broncos.

They say the deal is effective immediately and the new signs will begin to go up on Wednesday.

9NEWS has learned that Sports Authority, based in Englewood, will pay $36 million to take over the remainder of INVESCO's contract for the next nine years. Sports Authority is interested in extending that contract until 2035, but negotiations are still ongoing.

Fifty-percent of the revenues from the naming agreement will go to the stadium district, and the other 50 percent is allocated to the Denver Broncos.

"Because Sports Authority is local and INVESCO is not, Sports Authority will invest more in the stadium, will enrich the fan experience and it will be a lot more than just change the name on the stadium," Norm Early form the Metropolitan Football Stadium District said. "The name will be changed, but the experience will be a much greater one because they have the passion, they have the emotion."

The 20-year, $120-million naming deal with INVESCO was set to expire in 2021.

"We're lucky that we have found ourselves in a situation where we're not only going to keep the terms of the original contract with INVESCO Field, but we also get the opportunity to extend it under the same terms and when that deal was started naming rights were a lot more popular with companies than they are now. So I really feel that Denver is in the cat bird seat with respect to this issue," Early said.

INVESCO was hit hard by the downturn in tech and growth stocks soon after signing the naming-rights deal before the stadium opened in 2001. The company folded its operations into AIM, a related mutual fund group based in Houston.

The combined group, INVESCO AIM, still has its stadium lease. Last year, the Atlanta-based company changed its name back to INVESCO.

A Broncos' sponsor for several years, Sports Authority has more than 30 stores and 1,000 employees in the state.

The name of the Bronco's stadium has been a point of debate even before it first opened its doors in 2001.

Then-business owner and current Gov. John Hickenlooper made a name for himself by campaigning to preserve the name "Mile High Stadium" from the football field the present-day stadium replaced.

"I think 'Mile High City' has the highest national name recognition of any city in the country," Hickenlooper said in 2000.

Ground was broken for the stadium in 1999 and it cost $364.9 million to construct. It is not only the home field for the Broncos, but the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team and the Rocky Mountain Showdown, an in-state rivalry college football game between the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State University Rams. It was also the site of President Barack Obama's address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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