Welcome to __________ Field at Mile High

Englewood-based sporting goods retailer Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, throwing into question the future of the name of the stadium the Denver Broncos call home. In mid-February, as bankruptcy rumors swirled after Sports Authority missed a $21 million interest payment in January, 9News.com reported that the naming rights to Mile High would remain intact through the end of the current contract, 2021. Whether the company will still be afloat, or solvent enough to make those payments, is another question.

At only $6 million a year (average), the naming rights contract is a relatively small number compared to the reported $643 million debt load the company currently carries. But lopping off $36 million in advertising from that number might be a wise choice for the bean counters (and a welcome move for other lien holders).

Like Sports Authority did for Invesco, there’s a chance another company could come in and scoop up the current contract before it gets voided and the price tag goes up (which it inevitably will). Stadiums like those in Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix are sponsored for between $8 and $12 million a year while AT&T and MetLife shell out $19 million a year to have their names plastered in Dallas and New York (New Jersey).

Broncos fans were ecstatic when Sports Authority (known to most “natives” as Gart Sports) took over naming rights from the financial firm Invesco in 2011. The local company that grew from a small fishing rod outlet to one of the nation’s largest retailers was a badge of honor – until yesterday’s news.

Thus, the MHS staff compiled a list of the top local brands we’d like to see take over the relative bargain $6 million naming rights to ___________ Field at Mile High.