Even with Molson Coors set to move its headquarters out of Denver, the Coors Field name is highly unlikely to change, as an agreement with the Colorado Rockies runs in perpetuity.
Coors Field opened in 1995, and its branding gave the ballpark strong local ties, given Coors Brewing’s status at the time as a prominent Colorado-based brewer. Those local ties are waning, however, as Coors merged with Molson in 2005 to form parent company Molson Coors Brewing Co., which is now planning to uproot its headquarters. On Wednesday, Molson Coors announced that it will be relocating its North American headquarters from Denver to Chicago.
While this will lower the company’s presence in Colorado–but not completely eliminate it, as a brewery in Golden will remain in operation, among other facilities–it does not change anything relating to the naming of Coors Field. Naming rights to the ballpark are to be in perpetuity, a benefit that Coors and its successors was granted as part a $30 million investment made before the facility opened that also included a limited partnership stake in the team. More from the Denver Post:
The 24-year-old park has been named Coors Field since the day it opened for baseball in 1995. But it seems strange to have such a visible structure bearing the name of a company based 1,000 miles away, even if its iconic brewery is still producing beer in Golden. The stadium itself is a public facility, owned and run by the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District, a subdivision of state government representing the seven-county Denver metro area.
Despite major changes at Molson Coors, Coors Field’s name will remain, according to a subsection of the $200 million, 30-year lease agreement the Rockies club ownership signed with the stadium district in 2017. That agreement acknowledges that the partnership that owns the team has the power to sell the stadium’s naming rights, but the partnership “granted the naming rights in perpetuity to Coors Brewing Co. and its successors.”
The lease goes on to say that “if” the stadium naming rights “should” become available during the lease term, the district would be entitled to 50% of the revenue generated by the deal, but that “in perpetuity” part indicates the private deal ownership struck with Coors Brewing a quarter-century ago means it will always be Coors Field.
In a 1995 Denver Post story published just before the Rockies played their first game at the stadium, Bill Coors, then chairman of the board for the brewing company, indicated that Coors invested $30 million in the club. For that, the company got a limited partnership stake in the Rockies and the stadium naming rights, along with other marketing opportunities.
Coors Field is set to be the franchise’s home for decades to come, as the Rockies signed a 30-year lease extension in 2017 that will keep them in Denver through 2047. The organization is also leading a mixed-use development over a former parking lot outside the ballpark, breaking ground on that project this past spring in anticipation of a 2021 completion.
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