The Colorado Rockies and the state Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District agreed to a new $200-million, 30-year lease for Coors Field, a day before the team’s original 22-year lease was set to expire. It keeps the team in Denver through 2047.
Though there was little doubt of the team moving from Colorado, the new lease was sought by both sides as a way to ensure continuity. Besides the extended lease, the deal also gives the Rockies the opportunity (for $125 million) to develop a plot of land next to the ballpark (on the southwest side) for 99 years. Coors Field has indeed generated a lot of development in the area — development that’s still going on — and the rights to develop the land is seen as another way to monetize the fans heading to games.
“We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud,” Rockies owner Dick Monfort said in a press release.
Though Coors Field may seem to still be shiny and new for most of us, it is now the third-oldest ballpark in the National League, behind Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. Opening in 1995, From the Denver Post:
The Rockies will pay about $2.5 million a year in rent, plus the lease on the new land, totaling $200 million over the term. Their previous lease cost about $100,000 per year in rent and $900,000 in annual capital costs. Most of the money the Rockies will pay to lease the LoDo land will be front-loaded in the first 30 years.
The district and the Rockies each commissioned studies that determined capital improvements over the next 30 years — everything from sewer lines to new seats to internet access — would cost about $200 million. To raise those funds, the district considered and rejected several ideas, including a new sales tax, a seat tax and direct funds from the state and city, among other options.
Instead, the Rockies used the negotiation to bargain for a piece of land across 20th Street, south of Coors Field. The plot, currently a parking lot, sits between Jackson’s sports bar, Fado Irish Pub and the ChopHouse steak restaurant.
The deal should cover Coors Field costs for the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District. The ballpark was funded by a 0.1 sales tax increase and a upfront payment from Coors in 1990. But those naming rights are 100 percent monetized; in return for the upfront payment, Coors receiving naming rights in perpetuity.