Sports Authority signs to begin being removed from football stadium

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER -- Removal equipment arrived Monday morning for crews to begin taking down signage at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Sports Authority has had its name on the stadium even after going bankrupt in March 2016 and closing all of its stores.

Last week, Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said the signage will finally come down.

The Sports Authority signage that is usually lit at night was dark on Monday morning, another indication the removal is imminent.

It will take about one week for all of the signs to be removed.

The Sports Authority name has been on the stadium since 2011. It tried to sell the naming rights, but no new company came forward to put its logo on the home of the Broncos.

Sports Authority had five years left on its contract worth $19.2 million. When it failed to make a $3.6 million payment in August 2016, the former sporting goods retailer was in breach of its contract.

Sports Authority tried to market the contract. Several companies expressed interest, but no cash bid for the contract was received.

In August 2016, the Broncos emerged as the highest bidder to assume the contract for naming rights to the stadium. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court granted the team the naming rights in November.

Since then, the Broncos have been working without success to secure a new naming rights holder all the while Sports Authority signage was still plastered on the outside of the stadium.

The stadium will still be named Sports Authority Field at Mile High because there are some events connected to the name in the coming months.

Ellis hopes to have either a placeholder name or a name on the stadium that involves a corporation by the start of next season.

"I’m really proud of the way the stadium management company has maintained it, kept it up," Ellis said. "It’s a terrific environment. A lot of memories have already taken place there.

"I expect many more and I look forward to resolving this naming issue as fast as we can.

"It’s a complicated deal to put this together and I’m not gonna put an end date on that. It’s important to get the right deal. We continue to have productive discussions with companies.

The Metropolitan Football Stadium 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.

The Broncos have 13 years left on the lease at the stadium, which opened in 2001.

"I'd like to wrap up the naming rights deal then extend (the lease) because the Broncos aren't going anywhere," Ellis said. "It's important to get the right deal. We continue to have productive discussions with companies and I'm hoping we can get it resolved."

AlertMe