Apr 25, 2022 - News

Future Broncos owner will decide fate of Denver's football stadium

The Broncos logo displayed at Empower Field at Mile High stadium in Denver. Photo: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

To build, or not to build? That is the question — at least for the Denver Broncos' incoming owner.

Driving the news: Franchise president Joe Ellis recently told reporters that erecting a new Broncos stadium will be "issue No. 1 on the next owner's plate" and the decision to build anew or refresh must be weighed "right away."

  • Deciding which path to pursue will be a major challenge, Ellis said, between the roughly $2 billion construction price tag and the "significant upgrades" currently needed at Empower Field at Mile High.

Why it matters: With a new coach, a new quarterback and a soon-to-be new owner, the Denver Broncos' fresh start is raising questions of whether a new stadium might make sense, too.

Context: The Broncos have narrowed the list to five potential buyers with deep pockets, including Walmart heir Rob Walton, the 11th richest person in the country.

  • Other bidders include the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and a group with Todd Boehly, a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers.

Yes, but: Supply chain issues and inflation could deter any investors from pursuing a new build.

  • As is, supply chain challenges are preventing needed renovations to the stadium after several hundred seats caught fire in March, Ellis said. And the team is unlikely to get the damaged area fixed in time for September's opening game due to delays.

What they're saying: A top-tier stadium could pave the way for the Mile High City to host its first-ever Super Bowl.

  • "You get a Super Bowl every time you build a new stadium," Darrin Duber-Smith, a senior lecturer of marketing at Metropolitan State University of Denver, told Denver7. "The league awards you … that's part of the deal."

The other side: Ellis said Denver's current stadium, which opened in 2001, can still keep up with many others across the league so long as renovations happen.

The bottom line: "Will it ever be SoFi or Allegiant [stadiums]? Probably not," Ellis said. "So that's something a new owner has to look at."

What to watch: The five prospective buyers are slated to meet with Broncos leadership early next month.


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