AutoNation Inc. is ending its eight-year relationship with football legend John Elway in the Denver, CO, market.

AutoNation, the nation's largest automotive dealer group, acquired five Elway-owned dealerships in 1998 for nearly $83 million. The company has licensed the Denver-icon's name since then, while adding 11 dealerships to the Elway brand.

The licensing agreement prevented Elway, a two-time Super Bowl most valuable player for the Denver Broncos in the 1990s, from being involved in other dealership opportunities. Now, he apparently may pursue those, he tells the Denver media.

Meanwhile, AutoNation is rebranding the 16 Elway stores, four of which were on this year's Ward's 500 dealership ranking, with the name “Go.”

The chain also is launching a new simplified pricing strategy called SmartChoice in the Denver market this month with plans to roll it out nationally in 2007.