Is DIA welcome sign worth the investment?

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DENVER — Officials at Denver International Airport are realizing it will likely take longer to recoup a $14 million investment on the massive LED welcome sign in the median of Pena Blvd.

The Denver City Council approved the sign construction in 2016. At that time, the city touted the sign as an advertising money maker. More than two years later, the city is estimating it will take longer to get its $14 million back.

City council members voted to take action on Tuesday by hiring an advertising firm to get businesses to put their names on DIA’s bright lights. City officials say they aren’t in the business of attracting advertising dollars and need a company that can help.

The welcome sign has lived up to the hype, but it has exceeded its original price tag projection.

“14 million bucks is a lot of money,” one traveler said Tuesday, echoing the concerns of others.”

In December of 2016, Denver officials told FOX31 it would take, at most, eight years to get the cost back in advertising dollars. The city has only seen a fraction of return and now says it could take a decade to break even.

To help solve the problem, city leaders are hoping OUTFRONT Media LLC will have the expertise to drum up business and see the money pour into airport coffers.

The firm would receive a fee from advertisers and pay the airport $150,000 or 67 percent of the gross ad sales, according to the airport. DIA admits it wasn’t proactively selling ads in 2018 and only grossed $21,000 on the mega investment.

“I think the money in the bank would’ve done a better return,” a Denver tourist told FOX31.

Until council acts, the potential advertising firm deal remains a proposal. If approved, the deal could last five years.

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