SBJ/September 19-25, 2011/In Depth

Changeovers at stadiums required the construction version of the two-minute drill

A pair of recent facility rebrandings turned work crews into quick-change artists as they went about the not-so-simple task of replacing signs and making the many other adjustments needed following naming-rights deals and corporate mergers.

In Denver, Sports Authority Field at Mile High is the new name of the former Invesco Field at Mile High. The sporting goods retailer will spend $150 million over 25 years to place its name on the home field of the Broncos.

In Seattle, CenturyLink Field replaces Qwest Field, after CenturyLink closed on its purchase of Qwest in August and extended Qwest’s naming-rights deal by five years, to 2019. The stadium is home to the NFL Seahawks and MLS Sounders. CenturyLink wouldn’t reveal what it paid for the naming-rights extension.

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Sports Authority hired about a dozen Colorado companies to quickly rebrand the home of the Denver Broncos.
Sports Authority is paying an annual average of $6 million for its naming-rights deal in Denver.

“We’re also putting in another $6 million into the stadium above and beyond the $150 million,” said Jeff Schumacher, chief marketing officer for Sports Authority, based in Englewood, Colo., just south of Denver. Plus tens of millions more for youth sports activities in the Denver area, he added.

Sports Authority announced the deal on Aug. 16 — and faced an enormous amount of work to do prior to the Broncos’ season opener on Sept. 12 against the Oakland Raiders. It hired about a dozen Colorado companies to immediately start working on the stadium, and had 100 workers on the job and cranes in place on Aug. 17.

Among the tasks was creating a new logo and changing all signage both on the outside and inside of the stadium — from the big ones seen from Interstate 25, to the items that no one ever thinks about, such as the stadium’s 76,000 cupholders and hundreds of wastebaskets.

Other plans will play out during the season and after: Painting concourse columns with high school logos, adding a display that includes a helmet from each high school football program in Colorado, replacing the current retail store with a Sports Authority outlet in time for the 2012 season, adding video booths for fans to record their feelings about the team, and more.

As in Denver, change came rapidly in Seattle. Among the fast changes beyond the main signage: nameplates on doorways, directional signs on streets and highways, staff uniforms, business cards and team stationery.

“It’s a very substantial changeover cost,” said Peter McLoughlin, president of the Seahawks, Sounders and First & Goal Inc., which runs the stadium. He declined to reveal specific figures.

Bruce Goldberg writes for the Denver Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

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