Former Denver mayor gauges support for ‘Mile High Stadium at Pat Bowlen Field’

The Denver Broncos basically said the mayor’s idea for Mile High Stadium was a non-starter.

staff photo
Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb speaks at a press conference calling out Donald Trump as a racist on the Colorado State Capitol steps. June 8, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  wellington webb; denver; denverite; governor john hickenlooper; capitol; capitol hill; speech; kevinjbeaty; colorado

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb speaks at a press conference calling out Donald Trump as a racist on the Colorado State Capitol steps. June 8, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Companies might want to avoid putting their names on Mile High Stadium after the unlucky financial situations experienced by Invesco and Sports Authority, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb quipped Tuesday.

Webb is calling for the Denver Broncos to find a way to honor the team’s longtime owner by calling the arena “Mile High Stadium at Pat Bowlen Field.” A spokesman for the team said the mayor’s idea is basically a nonstarter and the organization will continue to look for a new corporate sponsor.

“This suggestion, which we became aware of today through a media report, is not being considered. Our focus remains on securing a long-term, corporate naming rights partner, and we continue to have productive conversations with prospective companies,” said Patrick Smyth, executive vice president of public and community relations for the Broncos.

"Sports Authority Field" is no more. Jan. 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  mile high stadium; sports authority field; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; crane;

"Sports Authority Field" is no more. Jan. 11, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Webb, who served as mayor of Denver from 1991 to 2003, continually pushes for maintaining the name “Mile High Stadium.” In 2016, he penned an open letter urging the Broncos to consider discontinuing the practice of selling the naming rights.

“Instead of rolling the dice for another corporate name, why not come up with a way to help pay to restore the Mile High Stadium name that would allow any fan, including businesses with deep pockets, to contribute,” Webb announced Tuesday after inviting reporters to his downtown office.

Webb said that the Broncos should also consider taking sponsorship/marketing money from businesses in the marijuana industry.

The Denver Broncos took control of the naming rights for the stadium in 2016 after now-defunct Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy and could no longer make the required payments. The former seller of sporting goods had its named stripped from the Mile High Stadium this month.

The president and CEO of the Broncos, Joe Ellis, told reporters earlier this month that the team needs to find a new naming-rights partner at some point in order to continue the maintenance and upkeep of the Broncos’ 76,125-seat stadium.

“I think there will be enough demand to pay for those upgrades,” Webb said.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.