Colorado’s “Coach Prime” Film Incentives: Unraveling The Process


In the wake of Deion Sanders’ influence, which has impacted the University of Colorado football team, Buff’s merchandise sales, Boulder businesses, and the media, the state of Colorado has designed a rebate program for the second season of Amazon Prime’s “Coach Prime” mini-documentary series. Producers of the show have planned to spend $4.9 million within Colorado during filming. Here’s a breakdown of how these rebates work, as presented by the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media.


Filming Already Underway in Colorado

Colorado's "Coach Prime" TV rebate program is explored, highlighting the economic impact and local talent development.

“Coach Prime” is currently in production in Colorado, following the success of its first season, which was released while Sanders was coaching at Jackson State University in Mississippi. The state’s Office of Film, Television, and Media announced that the $4.9 million budget for the show could lead to $500,000 in rebates for the production company, SMAC Productions, Inc.

Understanding the Multiplier Effect

To assess the value of these rebates, Colorado film commissioner Donald Zuckerman highlights the concept of the “multiplier effect.” This effect evaluates the total economic impact of a production, encompassing not only direct production spending but also the secondary effects it has on local businesses such as restaurants, bars, hotels, and more. The multiplier effect plays a crucial role in gauging the benefits the state will derive from the investment.


Colorado’s Incentive Program

Colorado’s incentive program offers performance-based rebates of up to 20% of qualified expenses for film productions. To be eligible for rebates, projects based in Colorado need to spend at least $100,000, while out-of-state projects must invest a minimum of $1 million. Moreover, these projects must employ a majority of Colorado residents in their crew, and their spending must undergo auditing.

Supporting Local Talent

For smaller projects like the Amazon series “Coach Prime,” the goal is to hire a substantial percentage of local crew members. In this case, the production aims to employ 17 locals out of a crew of 32. This strategy encourages local talent development, reducing the need to bring in crew members from outside the state.


Past Challenges and Revival of the Incentive Program

Colorado’s film incentive program has faced scrutiny in the past due to misallocation of funds and concerns about its effectiveness and accountability. Before the pandemic, the program received as little as $750,000 a year from the state’s legislature, putting pressure on the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (COEDIT) to reallocate funds to prevent the program from collapsing. In late 2021, the program received a $6 million boost, reviving its prospects.

Potential for Growth in Colorado’s Film Industry

According to a study released by the state in January, Colorado’s film industry has the potential to exceed $1 billion in annual sales and become a nationally attractive destination for filmmakers if legislators commit to offering more economic incentives. The tourism boost from film productions is a significant component of this growth, with examples like the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, a popular tourist attraction inspired by Stephen King’s “The Shining,” reaping substantial rewards through ghost tours and gift shop sales.

Colorado’s investment in the film industry, exemplified by the rebates for “Coach Prime” Season 2, reflects the state’s commitment to fostering economic growth, job opportunities, and a thriving entertainment sector.

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