Marijuana Dispensary Interested in Buying Denver Broncos Stadium Naming Rights

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 2, 2016

Fans walk outside of Sports Authority Field at Mile High before the NFL football AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

If the Denver Broncos open up their stadium naming rights after Sports Authority recently filed for bankruptcy, a Colorado marijuana dispensary is expected to have interest.  

Per CBS 4 in Denver, Native Roots said it is "fully ready to make a multi-million dollar commitment if the contract between Sports Authority Field at Mile High and Sports Authority ever ends."

Sports Authority, which has held naming rights for the Broncos' stadium since 2011, filed for bankruptcy in March and plans to close 140 of its 450 stores nationwide, per CNN's Chris Isidore.

Standard & Poors credit analyst Andrew Bove told Isidore that Sports Authority has arranged to borrow $595 million to fund operations while in bankruptcy, but to come out of it, the company "likely will have to find a buyer for the remaining stores."

As far as the Broncos' stadium is concerned, Alicia Wallace of the Denver Post Sports Authority has a $3.6 million payment due to the Super Bowl champions on August 1.

If the sporting goods retailer is unable to make the payment, it will have 30 days to make good, but if that passes, the stadium's district board may be allowed to terminate the deal that runs through 2021. 

Native Roots founding partner Rhett Jordan told CBS 4 that the company's interest in the stadium naming rights is "not a joke, we’re very serious." The CBS 4 report noted the dispensary has seen rapid growth, going from one store to 14 in the last year. 

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Marijuana was made legal in Colorado for people aged 21 or older during the 2012 election cycle. Adults are allowed to possess up to one ounce of the drug for recreational use. 

Per the CBS 4 report, Native Roots is "willing to forgo the marijuana leaf in favor of its more well-known symbol, a simple tree with roots."

The NFL does prohibit the use of marijuana, though its rules were slightly amended in 2014 with four failed tests resulting in a four-game suspension. 

It would seem unlikely that a company specializing in marijuana sales would be given naming rights for an NFL stadium, both because of the league's policy and some public relations problems it would cause, but it's certainly an interesting idea that is not being treated like a joke by Native Roots.