Broncos Stadium's Name in Dispute

Wednesday, November 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) — Negotiations to sell the name of the Denver Broncos' new football stadium to a corporate sponsor were suspended Tuesday night amid growing opposition to plans to drop the name Mile High Stadium.

The Metropolitan Football Stadium District said two prospective buyers, AT&T Broadband and Invesco Funds Group, had withdrawn their offers.

``The environment for structuring a naming rights deal has been polluted by political grandstanding,'' stadium district spokesman Matt Sugar said.

``Given the political climate, all deals naming the new Bronco stadium, including those that may have kept the name Mile High, have been suspended.''

Spokesmen for AT&T and Invesco could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The situation changed dramatically last week when Mayor Wellington Webb joined the chorus of Bronco fans who opposed selling the name of the stadium to help pay its $400 million cost, most of which is being borne by taxpayers.

Mayor spokesman Andrew Hudson said the dispute over the name was not between the mayor and the stadium district. He said Webb only voiced the opinion of thousands of taxpayers and fans who want to preserve the name as part of the city's history.

The mayor, who earlier this year scuttled a billionaire's bid to buy the Colorado Avalanche, declined to rule out legal action if the district decided to sell the name.

Green Bay, Wis., voters will cast an advisory vote Nov. 7 on whether to keep the name Lambeau Field. Webb said Denver-area residents should have the same opportunity before the name is changed.

Tourism officials fear changing the name could cost the state promotional exposure.

``Mile High City means high altitude which means snow and skiing. If it's snowing during a ``Monday Night Football'' game, our reservation board lights up,'' said Kristin Rust, spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA.

``How are you going to get the name out if the stadium is renamed? We cannot afford television advertising around the world,'' said Rich Grant of the Denver Metro Tourism and Convention bureau.