SBD/30/Franchises

AS DENVER GROWS TO FOUR, BRONCOS MUST LOOK TO THE FUTURE

     "For years, the Broncos have rolled out John Elway, pocketed
the television money, split the gate receipts with the opposing
team and gone about their business," but Denver's changing
marketplace has spurred the team to start marketing themselves,
according to Jim Armstrong in Sunday's DENVER POST.  Armstrong
writes that "after two decades of unchallenged supremacy, the
Broncos have begun positioning themselves to hold their own in a
market that ... has four major-league sports franchises fighting
for a diluted entertainment dollar."  The Broncos did not have a
marketing department from '89-'95, and when they did -- in '86 --
 they promoted their equipment manager to marketing director.
However, within the past year, Rosemary Hanratty was hired as
marketing director and has begun a program to "engender a
positive image."  Hanratty: "We're trying to build a fan base of
those young people out there who've maybe turned to the [IHL]
Grizzlies or Nuggets" (DENVER POST, 5/28).
     MILE HIGH MALAISE:  The future of Mile High Stadium, where
the Broncos receive no stadium revenue and compare the atmosphere
to a heavy-metal concert, is also a top priority. Armstrong
reports that the Broncos "have been victimized by their own
success."  Owner Pat Bowlen: "We've got a whole generation of
people who have grown up not being able to see a game in Mile
High Stadium because they couldn't get a ticket."  Bowlen says
that has created a generation of fans who will demand many of the
comforts of their homes at a stadium.  His solution is for the
Broncos to take over the management of Mile High from the city.
Bowlen says the city would stand to generate the same amount of
revenue from the stadium, but the team would take in more revenue
and have more control over the atmosphere.  Broncos COO Robert
Hampe says the luxuries avaliable just a short distance away at
Coors Field will be a "double-edged blade" for the Broncos.
Hampe:  "People are going to Coors Field and saying 'Wow!' Our
games have become Megadeth concerts.  If something is going on in
the stands short of a homicide, we let it go."  The Broncos hope
that Mile High will be replaced in the near future, and will seek
to extend the .01% sales tax that was used to build Coors Field
to help finance a new $220M stadium, with $60M in private
financing.  The city has said it will cost $264M to keep Mile
High in working condition for 30 years -- adding weight to
Bowlen's insistence that replacing Mile High makes sense (DENVER
POST, 5/28).
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