Dear me, circa 2001:
Remember how offended and enraged you became when you heard the new Broncos stadium would be called Invesco Field At Mile High? Well, you’re not going to like this one bit.
Sports Authority, the now-Colorado-based sporting goods company, is in hot pursuit of the naming rights to the home of the Broncos. Yeah, it has “sports” in the name, but if I remember how indignant you were about an insipid investment company’s name getting tacked on to the classic Mile High moniker, I’d imagine you’re grinding your teeth and turning a deep shade of red over this.
Here in 2011, sales of naming rights are commonplace. The economy is so bad, the president has started wearing a Golden Palace jacket when he does press conferences. (I’m just kidding, but he literally accepted the Democratic nomination down on the field at Invesco.) So I’m not really fazed by Invesco Field At Mile High being renamed Sports Authority Field At Mile High at this point. We’re so used to selling out, we don’t even notice it anymore. I’m not even going to mention The Pogues’ Subaru commercial or The White Stripes selling Captain Morgan, or you may just keel over and die.
Since 2001, a lot has changed. The Broncos have only had a sniff of the Super Bowl in the last 10 years, and it’s been a cavalcade of quarterbacks since. Would you be shocked to know that one quarterback quit to play professional handball? Another one was about to get married to a girl on a reality show, but like one of his passes, that plan was intercepted. (And no, it’s not Bubby Brister.)
Maybe it’s because the Broncos have been so bad for the last couple of years, but now the stadium where they play isn’t that special. Televisions are so advanced these days that it’s almost better to sit at home on your couch to watch a game than to spend a fortune dragging yourself to the future Sports Authority Field At Mile High. I can’t remember how much we were spending on beer back then, but if you should be mad at anything it’s the necessity of spending as much as your ticket cost to catch a buzz at the stadium.
Remember the guy, who owned that bar, who led the charge to keep the Mile High name unsullied by corporate nonsense? Well, he became mayor of Denver after that, promised something about parking meters, and then became governor. All I know is you got a whole lot of parking tickets after he was voted in, and now the name on the stadium is about to be a bigger mouthful than a Samoan lineman’s last name.
When the new stadium was built, a lot of the original vibe was left in the rubble of the old place. The team will eventually get back to its winning ways, but for now the name on the front of the stadium is the least of our worries, in football and in life. It’s possible that I’m just getting older. (Past me, you really don’t want to see what you’ll look like in 10 years: It’s like the Picture Of Dorian Gray, or what I’d imagine Brian Bosworth looks like now.)
Corporate America didn’t really win, because no one really cares what the building is named. It is, and always will be, about what goes on down on the field. So just remember that when you’re stewing over Pat Bowlen selling off the name of one of the hallowed temples of Denver sports. It could be worse: Los Angeles still doesn’t have a team.
Your future, balder self
P.S. Please invent Facebook so I don’t have to work any more in the future.