Getting A Mile High

The Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium name is up for grabs as a U.S. Bankruptcy Court allowed the team to exit its sponsorship agreement with Sports Authority. And at least two pot companies have shown interest in acquiring the naming rights. 

Photo: AP Photo
Heavy smoke from the High Park wildfire near Fort Collins, Colo., shrouds Denver.

Judge Mary F. Walrath terminated the $55.3 million contract that was signed in 2011. Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy and is indebted to the Broncos for $36 million. The company also sought to end the contract, but wants to auction off the naming rights, according to The Denver Post. Sports Authority has a separate deal with the Denver Metropolitan Football Stadium District for the naming rights, and recruited Hilco Streambank to identify buyers for the agreement and intellectual property, including domain names, customer databases and private-label brands.

The stadium district filed a protest in court to the plan and instead seeks right of first refusal should Sports Authority locate a new naming sponsor, according to the Denver Post.

Hilco Streambank set the deadline for bids at June 27 and two major marijuana dispensaries, Native Roots and O.pen Vape, have come up with new names should one of them be granted a rights deal. Although Native Roots announced its interest on April Fool’s Day, founding partner Rhett Jordan declared the proposal is not a joke and the company would like to rename the facility “Native Roots at Mile High,” according to the Washington Times.

The multimillion-dollar obligation isn’t an issue but the state law that restricts outdoor advertising of pot dispensaries could be a problem. O.pen Vape has already put its bid in for the stadium, according to CBS. The network reported O.pen Vape teamed up with former NFL defensive end and spokesman for the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition Lance Johnstone, who encouraged the company to make a bid.

“The NFL has the opportunity to be a leader in the sports industry to address pain management,” Johnstone said. “I believe many active and retired players would appreciate working with O.pen Vape to support scientific research, dispel the stigmas of using cannabis and provide safer treatment alternatives to league players.” O.pen Vape attorney Sean McAllister said the company takes in $100 million in revenue per year and can handle the costs of the $6 million to $8 million agreement, according to The Denver Post.

Should O.pen Vape succeed in acquiring the rights, the Broncos play at O.pen Vape Field at Mile High.