As long as the Colorado Rockies are playing baseball at the ballpark at 20th and Blake streets in Denver, they’ll be playing at Coors Field. That’ll be true even after the iconic brewers’ parent company pulls up stakes and moves out of town.
On Wednesday morning, Molson Coors Brewing Co. announced — among other major company changes — that it would be packing up its corporate offices in downtown Denver and moving its headquarters to Chicago. It’s a landscape-changing corporate shuffle that has led some people to question if the naming rights for Coors Field will soon be up for grabs.
Coors Field: What’s in a name?
The 24-year-old park has been named Coors Field since the day it opened for baseball in 1995. But it seems strange to have such a visible structure bearing the name of a company based 1,000 miles away, even if its iconic brewery is still producing beer in Golden. The stadium itself is a public facility, owned and run by the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District, a subdivision of state government representing the seven-county Denver metro area.
Why is the name sticking around?
Despite major changes at Molson Coors, Coors Field’s name will remain, according to a subsection of the $200 million, 30-year lease agreement the Rockies club ownership signed with the stadium district in 2017. That agreement acknowledges that the partnership that owns the team has the power to sell the stadium’s naming rights, but the partnership “granted the naming rights in perpetuity to Coors Brewing Co. and its successors.”
The lease goes on to say that “if” the stadium naming rights “should” become available during the lease term, the district would be entitled to 50% of the revenue generated by the deal, but that “in perpetuity” part indicates the private deal ownership struck with Coors Brewing a quarter-century ago means it will always be Coors Field.
- October 30, 2019
Molson Coors closing Denver office, cutting 500 jobs and moving its headquarters to Chicago
- March 29, 2017
Rockies strike deal “in the 11th hour” to keep Coors Field as long-term home
- September 4, 2019
Broncos, Empower Retirement agree to deal for stadium naming rights
Show me the money
In a 1995 Denver Post story published just before the Rockies played their first game at the stadium, Bill Coors, then chairman of the board for the brewing company, indicated that Coors invested $30 million in the club. For that, the company got a limited partnership stake in the Rockies and the stadium naming rights, along with other marketing opportunities.
At the time, Jerry McMorris was the most visible figure in the Rockies ownership group, though he would eventually be bought out by brothers Dick and Charlie Monfort.
Coors’ naming rights stand out as quite a bargain for the company considering that now-defunct Sports Authority signed a $150 million deal in 2011 to puts its name on the Denver Broncos football stadium. After Sports Authority went bankrupt, the deal was not carried through to completion, but it was good for $6 million per year and had an expiration date. The Broncos just signed a third-generation deal for the naming rights for their stadium. Exact terms were not disclosed, but when the San Francisco Giants signed a third-generation deal for their ballpark with Oracle Corp. earlier this year, it was valued at between $200 million and $350 million, according to the San Jose Mercury News.