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AS DENVER GROWS TO FOUR, BRONCOS MUST LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Published May 30, 1995
"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).