There has been no news on the naming rights front for the Avalanche since last September when the team renewed their naming rights agreement for a one year extension. That extension is now up, and NHL 21 may have just given us a clue suggesting that Pepsi will not renew the naming rights to the home of the Avs.
EA Sports has removed the "Pepsi Center" name from center ice and atop the scoreboard in their newest release, NHL 21. Although they forgot to remove the tiny logos from behind the players benches, it is clear that they intentionally removed the name from the game, which usually only occurs when they lose the license to use their name and branding in the game. So why, after so many years would this license not be renewed? There are a couple real possibilities here. It could be something as simple as a missed request to sign the licensing agreement. This has happened before with a few NHL teams including the Avalanche several years ago. This would be more understandable than ever as we are going through a time where many of the usual people working the team offices may be laid off. The other possibility is that Pepsi has chosen not to renew their naming rights, and the building will sit in limbo until a new deal has been struck with a new naming rights partner.
At this point, we will have to wait for any potential news to come out from the team or the arena, but I would not criticize EA Sports at this point for this missing branding. If the building should be renamed at some point this season, it is very likely that EA will patch it into the game with one of their title updates.
What do you think of this potential development? Is a name change coming, or did someone drop the ball on the paperwork?