Image via O.penVAPE
The Mile High Stadium and home to this year’s Super Bowl champions may soon take on its state’s marijuana identity. Since Sports Authority went bankrupt in March, the sporting goods company has been forced to liquidate then close all its stores and assets–including its naming rights to the Broncos home field.
At least two major Colorado cannabis companies, O.penVAPE and Native Roots, have both purportedly bid approximately $6 million annually for the naming rights of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. But according to The Denver Post, the stadium’s only letter of interest for the naming rights thus far has come from O.penVAPE.
The two players vying for the title are two of Colorado’s most prominent cannabis businesses. O.pen VAPE manufactures and distributes disposable vaporizer cartridges and pens, while Native Roots has 16 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.
Both companies have been outspoken about their desire to make the Mile High Stadium go up in smoke. O.penVAPE recently issued a press release stating its desire to own the stadium’s naming rights to promote the company’s non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) products. O.Pen’s recent push even includes a video that shows what the stadium would look like:
O.penVAPE’s proposed deal might even eclipse that $6 million a year figure and would run through the 2021 NFL season. Meanwhile, Native Roots has been speaking to the media about its transparent desire for over two months now and certainly presents stiff competition–if the company officially enters the fray.
If there’s one certainty at hand in this situation, it’s that both of these companies have the funds to make this deal happen. But whether or not the Broncos and the NFL would ever let this type of deal happen remains to be seen.
Moreover, it’s unclear what naming rights competition either company faces from other Colorado companies and whether Sports Authority or the Broncos organization will make the ultimate decision. Despite failing to make its quarterly payments to the Broncos, Sports Authority still owns the stadium’s naming rights and therefore could be at the helm of the naming-rights sale.
However, to combat this possibly, the Broncos have filed a motion to try to prevent Sports Authority from selling or auctioning its naming rights. Sports Authority plans to sell this right on June 23, so this important decision currently looms over the Broncos and Mile High stadium’s future.
Of course, o.PenVAPE’s plan could very well amount to nothing. The NFL has stated that naming-rights agreements “can’t violate any NFL rule or policy” and may not be associated with tobacco companies or products. Considering cannabis remains a banned substance and its consumption results in suspensions for players, it’s unlikely this pipe dream becomes a reality.
But when the NFL’s antiquated stance on medical marijuana use in the league ultimately and inevitably does change, marijuana companies with deep pockets will certainly step into the fray alongside alcohol companies.