Broncos Country, voting on a new stadium may be in your future

Broncos+Country%2C+voting+on+a+new+stadium+may+be+in+your+future

Collegian | Trin Bonner

Damon Cook, Staff Reporter

Colorado residents are officially set to vote Tuesday, Nov. 8 in the midterm elections. While there aren’t really any sports-related issues on the ballot this year, it begs the question if we could be seeing some here in the future.

Some people speculate that the Denver Broncos’ new owners will want to build a new stadium. Here’s a look at what that would look like to Colorado voters if the stadium isn’t privately funded. 

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Over the offseason, the Denver Broncos franchise was sold to the Walton-Penner group for $4.65 billion. Many residents in Colorado wonder if the ownership group will build a new stadium considering how much money they spent on the team. 

Empower Field at Mile High is the current Broncos stadium and holds 76,125 fans, which is good for the fifth-largest stadium in the NFL. The stadium finished construction in 2001, costing $400.7 million.

This doesn’t compare to the stadiums that are being built in the modern day. Allegiant Stadium, which hosts the Las Vegas Raiders, cost $1.9 billion, and SoFi Stadium, which hosts the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, cost $5.5 billion.

While both Allegiant Stadium and SoFi stadium were at least partially privately funded, Empower Field at Mile High was not. The 1998 Colorado Senate Bill 171, which was passed by the Senate, put the issue of paying for the stadium on the ballot. 

This bill increased the number of bonds the district could issue from $180 million to $266 million. It also set a requirement that the franchise would pay at least 25% of the total stadium cost. According to The Washington Post, this bill passed on the ballot with 58% of voters approving the construction of a new stadium. The taxpayers then paid about $266 million, and the Denver Broncos got a new stadium.

Of course, if the Walton-Penner group decided to build a new stadium and decided not to privately fund it, there would probably need to be a new vote and a new Senate bill. If all of this happened and the current laws were to stay in place, what would this look like for taxpayers? 

Five stadiums have been built in the last 10 years: Allegiant Stadium, Sofi Stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, U.S. Bank Stadium and Levi’s Stadium. The cheapest of these stadiums was the U.S. Bank Stadium, which accrued a total cost of $1.1 billion.

Hypothetically, if the new stadium was $1.1 billion, it would leave taxpayers liable for $341 million of the total bill. The Metropolitan Football Stadium District Act increased the sales tax by one cent per $10 spent between the years 2001-12. 

Common Sense Institute projected the revenue per Denver resident from sales tax in 2021 to be $1,146.89. While this would not only affect Denver residents, it gives a general idea of what Colorado voters might expect.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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