Neighbors of Sports Authority Field at Mile High worry about light pollution

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The Occupy Denver encampment is not the only city feature to be called an eyesore in recent weeks. Plans to add more, bigger and brighter corporate signage to the Sports Authority Field (previously known as Invesco) are already under attack by neighbors who worry about light pollution from the stadium.
They prefer their peace and quiet to a constant reminder to buy last season's North Face fleece at a 25 percent discount. Stadium officials prefer commerce.

The plan comes as a direct result of Sports Authority's $150 million deal to replace Invesco as the corporate sponsor named on the front of the Denver Broncos' home. The proceeds from the deal are divided evenly between the team and the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, but not all who live in the area are pleased with the new branding implications.

The plan that the stadium district has asked the city to approve includes installing signs with the new name on the north, east and west sides of the venue. At least three neighborhood meetings have already been called to discuss the proposal before the city's planning and zoning boards vote on the new signage plan next month. If the stadium district is given permission to go ahead, the intention is for all signs to be installed by the spring of 2012.

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A preview image of the proposed changes to the stadium's exterior.
The largest -- and most controversial -- of the possible changes is a large Sports Authority badge, which would be permanent and illuminated upwards, rather than backlit like earlier signs on the stadium. Since it would be placed at one of the highest points at Sports Authority Field, neighbors worry the neon signage will create light pollultion.

Since the naming rights changed hands in August, the stadium has worn temporary signs giving the new name. But the more permanent plans have been a tense topic at recent public meetings.

Some neighbors have expressed worries over how bright the lettering will be and how much sleep it could cost them, while others simply object to the change in aesthetic. A small group of detractors have started petition on the subject, and though it's collected fewer than 100 signatures, comments posted there indicate why some neighbors find the proposal so unfavorable. On Facebook, the movement to challenge the extra signage is led by a group called Keep Sports Authority Rebranding Out Of Denver Mountain Views.

"I am signing this petition because I am tired of corporate graffiti," writes Tom Blyth. "Just because Sports Authority has purchased the naming rights to a building with a sizable blank space on it they cannot be allowed to scrawl their tag all over the side of this publicly funded building. If this was a kid with a spray can he would be arrested and tried for the damage that he inflicted upon the neighborhood.We should demand no less respect from our corporate neighbors."

Some critics of the plan say the signs will discourage sports fans from visiting the venue:

"The proposed signage is too high up, large, bright, obtrusive, and ill-designed. The concept is tacky and won't endear Sports Authority to its potential customers; in fact, it will drive customers away if allowed. This is an extreme and crass example of corporate branding.

The Invesco sponsorship that lasted ten years had a substantially smaller corporate presence on the stadium, but Andy Gorchov, head of the stadium district, assured 7News that the new signs will not negatively alter the views of those in the neighborhood. "The district hopes people won't notice a difference at all as far as the lights," he said.

The final decision will be made after a review by the Community Planning and Development Department, which is excepting public comment on the issue until January 9. (That deadline has been extended more than once -- most recently by Denver councilwoman Susan Shepherd.)

Here's the entire Sports Authority Field at Mile High's comprehensive sign plan:

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Stadium Neighbor
Stadium Neighbor

Lance, please think before typing. It's been a neighborhood since the late 1800s, before football existed. I didn't by a $400k home, but have worked much harder than stadium officials have to improve this neighborhood, resulting in those high values that the stadium has NO right to diminish. I built my home well aware of the limits of the Comprensive Sign Plan that was negotiated during the development of the stadium, and was intended to serve the stadium through its useful life. Sports Authority should have understood the limitations before agreeing to take over the remaining 9 years on Invesco's 20 year contract, and subsequently signing up for 16 more years. Given what $6m bought in 2000 vs 2011, and the contract they signed, they have ZERO right to point larger, higher, glaring, and obnoxious signs at this neighborhood. We paid for the majority of the Stadium through taxes that Sports Authority, as a retailer, isn't subject to, if they wanted to plaster their name on it, they should have paid for the construction bill.


The issue isn't about the neighborhoods. The issue is about a corporation who claims to be a hometown company but disreagrds Denver/Bronco fans voices. Even prior to 1948 citizens of Denver worked to preserve mountain views from commercial advertsiements. SA is wantonly disregarding these efforts and branding both mountain and city views with illuminated SA signs for vistors and Denverites to see for generations. How beloved was the old Qwest sign? On top of that as a thank you to Bronco fans they dare use Kansas City Chief colors for their new signs after an initial uproar about red in the stadium from fans in September? Now, Boo, Who?


They're planning to do it in neon???  Someone needs to tell them about LED signage - less breakage and maintenance, longer life, lower electric bills.

Vill Robinson
Vill Robinson

No kidding. Sports Authority is trying to CHANGE the sign plan that was in effect when many people bought homes in good faith based on the protections of that plan. Don't trust the city to do the right thing, either. Even though the city enacted Blueprint Denver to enable infill development while protecting the character of certain neighborhoods, it now is trying to help an asshole developer who gamed the zoning in West Highland so a builder can put up an eyesore by 32nd and Lowell that clearly doesn't belong there. City planning department will try to do the same thing here, so be aware and be sure you've got other options for blocking this Sports Authority disaster.

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