Broncos reach 21-year deal to rename stadium Empower Field at Mile High

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos reached a 21-year agreement with Empower Retirement to rename the team's stadium Empower Field at Mile High, the team announced Wednesday.

The Greenwood Village-based company is the nation's second-largest retirement plan provider.

The company will have its name on the stadium through 2039. How much it is paying each year was not disclosed, but the Associated Press said it would average about $6 million a year.

Temporary signage will be in place at the stadium when the Broncos play their home opener against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 15.

Empower has been a partner with the Broncos since 2015 and runs their retirement accounts.

“We are proud to reach an agreement on a long-term naming rights deal between the Broncos and Empower Retirement,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to continue to invest in the community and the future of the Denver Broncos through our expanded partnership with the team,” Empower Retirement president and CEO Edmund F. Murphy III said.

Many Broncos fans said they'd never heard of Empower Retirement. That's one of the reasons the company signed the deal, according to marketing experts.

"Marketing through sports, particularly a sponsorship area and then your naming rights area, which is sort of your uber sponsorship -- this is really the best way to reach the largest number of people," Metropolitan State University of Denver marketing professor Darrin Duber-Smith said.

In June 2018, the Metropolitan Football Stadium District approved a plan to rename the facility Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

That replaced the name Sports Authority Field at Mile High, more than two years after the sporting goods company went bankrupt and closed all of its stores.

The district, which owns the stadium and leases it to the Broncos, will meet later this week to sign off on the deal, ending a three-year span without a title sponsor for the stadium.

Sports Authority took over naming rights of the stadium in 2011. It previously was named Invesco Field at Mile High.

Invesco transferred the naming rights to Sports Authority, which signed a 25-year, $150 million agreement.

When Sports Authority went bankrupt, it tried to sell the naming rights, but no new company came forward to put its name and logo on the home of the Broncos.

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

The Broncos struggled for the past three-plus years to find a company to pay millions of dollars to puts its name on the stadium.

The money from naming rights goes to repairs, renovations and upkeep of the stadium, which opened in 2001.

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