Englewood-based Gart Sports was founded in 1928 by a paper boy named Nathan Gart in 1928, and through future mergers and acquisitions eventually became Sports Authority. By 2003, Sports Authority was the largest full-line sporting goods retailer in the United States, but with increasing competition from other retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and online threats like Amazon, the once mighty sporting goods retailer was forced to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last March.
Two months later, after citing a staggering $1.3 billion in debt and failing to reach a deal with is creditors, lenders, vendors, and landlords, the retailer decided to shutter its doors and liquidate its remaining assets. Recently, a group of investment firms purchased their remaining inventory in an auction and will be liquidating the assets of their 450 retail locations. The sale of the merchant’s intellectual property, name, and sponsorship contracts will occur in the coming weeks.
This leads to a pressing question—who will sponsor the field at Mile High Stadium once all auctions are finalized?
Because of contractual obligations, Sports Authority owes The Broncos $36 million dollars through 2035 for the stadium naming rights and they recently tried to include those rights as an asset to sell in at auction with other intellectual property, which The Broncos and The Metropolitan Football Stadium District both filed objections to in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy hearing—citing contractual language which states they cannot sell or transfer the naming rights without written consent from The Broncos and the MFSD. Who sells, retains, and purchases the rights will most likely be up to the discretion of the court. Either way, when The Broncos hit the field this fall there will definitely be another company’s logo on the outside of Mile High Stadium, and people are already speculating as to who that might be.
Because Sports Authority is headquartered locally, there is a sentiment that the next company to sponsor the field at Mile High should also be based in Colorado. Although a company who is headquartered in another state could be the next sponsor, there are some companies based in Colorado who might make a good fit. Here are few of them:
Based in Denver, this fast casual food chain had revenues of $4.1 billion dollars in 2015 and profits of $445 million dollars. With their recent bad press following a string of foodborne illnesses last year, sponsoring Mile High Stadium might be a good move to elevate their brand image.
This fast casual Mexican restaurant based in Wheat Ridge has been gaining increased market share after Chipotle’s recent woes and had $370 million in sales for fiscal 2015. It might be a stretch, but they’re worth mentioning as a possible local sponsor.
Headquartered in Englewood, Dish Network’s 2015 revenue exceeded $14.5 billion dollars, with 19,000 employees and profits around $945 million dollars, they could easily afford the cost of the sponsorship. A big branding move like that could help separate them from competitors like Comcast and Direct TV.
Also based in Englewood, this 164-year-old company provides money transfer services to 200 plus countries, is in The Fortune 500 and had revenues of $5.6 billion dollars in 2015. In recent years, it’s gained a reputation as the preferred method of scammers for fraudulent money transfers…maybe sponsoring the field at Mile High could help boost their brand image.
The company was founded in 1880 and is headquartered in Broomfield. It recently has moved from solely producing packaging and containers into other areas like avionics. They too are in The Fortune 500 and had revenue of $8.57 billion dollars in 2015. They might not be interested as they’re a B2C company that doesn’t seem to focus on branding much.
Level 3 Communications
Also headquartered in Broomfield, this global communications provider had revenues of $6.7 billion dollars in 2015 and $314 million in profits and is also in The Fortune 500. This is also a B2C enterprise which might not consider a branding effort such as sponsoring a stadium, but they’re local and could afford it.
This distributor of electronic components and computer products has 17,000 employees worldwide, is in The Fortune 500, had revenue exceeding $22 billion dollars in 2015, and they are the largest private employer in the state of Colorado. They are growing fast and they’re more involved in corporate branding (Arrow ads can be regularly seen at Coors Field). They also recently used a local digital media company to produce their 2016 Super Bowl Ad. This might be the best fit for the new sponsorship at Mile High Stadium.
What do you think?
Golden-based Coors already sponsors The Colorado Rockies and although Dick’s Sporting Goods isn’t locally based, it seems like a logical replacement—they’ve already acquired some Sports Authority locations, but they currently own naming rights to the stadium for the Colorado Rapids. With that said, let us know who you think would be a great fit to sponsor the field at Mile High Stadium (local or otherwise).