So long Pepsi Center.
Beginning Thursday, the home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche will be known as Ball Arena as part of a multiyear global partnership between Ball Corporation and Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. In addition to the local naming rights, the partnership includes sustainable and environmentally friendly elements that will be established at Ball Arena, SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles Rams), and Emirates Stadium in London (Arsenal).
“The partnership was founded on a shared vision to advance sustainability in sports and entertainment by strengthening in-venue aluminum recycling, providing fans with a more environmentally friendly fan experience and showcasing aluminum beverage packaging as the most sustainable choice,” said a press release from Ball.
The nature of the deal, across three separate venues, is unprecedented for KSE. Denver’s local arena had been Pepsi Center for the last 21 years, and Pepsi will remain the official beverage sponsor of Ball Arena.
When Ball and KSE began negotiating more than a year ago, a naming rights deal wasn’t even being discussed, according to a person familiar with the situation. Instead, Ball was interested in becoming sustainability partners with KSE. The further both companies explored the possibility of a naming rights deal, the more it made sense for both sides.
“This is an important moment in sports and entertainment, and we are proud to partner with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment to advance sustainability in venues by implementing real-world solutions to the packaging waste crisis,” said John A. Hayes, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Ball Corporation. “We are committed to making recycling an easy, everyday choice for consumers by providing them with infinitely recyclable aluminum cans, bottles and cups that can be used and back on a store shelf in just 60 days, and enhancing recycling infrastructure in venues. We look forward to continuing to work with KSE to bring about positive change for years to come.”
Ball will be KSE’s exclusive sustainability partner at Ball Arena. In working with KSE, they vowed to transition to aluminum beverage packaging – “cans, bottles, and cups – for 100 percent of the venue’s concessions, with the goal of implementing a closed-loop system by 2022.” The partnership also includes investments in community education centered on aluminum recycling.
Said KSE chairman Stan Kroenke: “Our goal in selecting a long-term international venue partner was to find a Colorado-based company with global renown to grow side-by-side with our talented young teams. Ball Corporation is an ideal fit for that vision, an innovative leader that shares our commitment to our local community, to environmental sustainability, and creating quality jobs in Colorado. We look forward to unveiling Ball Arena and welcoming our fans back home when it is time once again to celebrate live sports and entertainment events responsibly.”
No financial terms of the long-term deal were released, but Hayes says there are built-in protections for Ball if the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep fans out of venues in 2021. Forbes estimates the naming rights component of the deal is worth roughly $6 million a year.