To build or not to build? That is the question – at least for the new owner of the Denver Broncos.
Driving the news: Franchise President Joe Ellis recently told reporters that building a new Broncos stadium will be “the No. 1 issue on the next owner’s plate” and that the decision to build again or refresh must be weighed “immediately”.
- Deciding which way to go will be a major challenge, Ellis said, between the construction price of around $2 billion and the “significant upgrades” currently needed at Empower Field in Mile High.
Why is this important: With a new coach, a new quarterback and a new future owner, the Denver Broncos’ fresh start raises questions about whether a new stadium might also make sense.
The context: The Broncos narrowed the list down to five deep-pocketed potential buyers, 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, minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers.
Yes, but: Supply chain issues and inflation could deter any investor from pursuing new construction.
- As it stands, supply chain challenges prevent needed stadium renovations after several hundred seats caught fire in March, Ellis said. And the team is unlikely to repair the damaged area in time for the September opener due to delays.
What they say : A premier 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,” said Darrin Duber-Smith, a marketing associate professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver. Told Denver7. “The league rewards you…that’s part of the deal.”
The other side: Ellis said Denver’s current stadium, which opened in 2001, can still keep pace with many other stadiums in the league as long as renovations take place.
The bottom line: “Will it ever be SoFi or Allegiant [stadiums]? Probably not,” Ellis said. “So that’s something a new owner needs to look at.”
What to watch: The five potential buyers are expected to meet with Broncos executives early next month.