Denver was offered a major league lacrosse expansion team in 2006 and the Denver Outlaws played their first game on May 20, 2006 at Invesco Field at Mile High. The naming rights of the stadium transferred to Sports Authority in 2011. Many folks still refer to the stadium as Mile High or Invesco Field as the name Sports Authority Field at Mile High doesn’t quite roll off the tongue easily.
The Outlaws have continuously broken MLL attendance records throughout its history and have made it to the division and/or conference finals in each year of their existence. In 2013, the Outlaws became the first ever MLL team to go undefeated… all 14 games. The highest scoring MLL game was played in Denver with the Rochester Rattlers at the Denver Outlaws on June 16, 2007 with scores of 27-26 totaling 53 points. The popularity of the sport is growing in the area, especially with children.
With that said, the Broncos (NFL) are the much more popular team to play at Sports Authority Field as evidenced by less than one half of the lower level seating bowl on one side open for Outlaws games, only one souvenir stand is open for the Outlaws (vs. a huge team shop for the Broncos), and minimal concession stands are open.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium has been host to concerts, lacrosse camp outs, soccer tournaments, football contests between CU and CSU, Riot Fest, and along with the Pepsi Center, it hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention when on August 28, 2008 President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic National Party nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Prices have gone up and quality has gone down since Stadium Journey's last visit in 2012.
Because of the smaller attendance of a lacrosse game at Sports Authority Field, most of the concession stands are rightfully closed. There are your basics: chicken tender basket ($8.00), blitzburger ($8.00), brat ($7.00). I had the stadium dog ($4.75) and the dog was overcooked and the bun was stale. The fan in front of me ordered the mushroom and swiss burger but he didn't get any mushrooms. Avoid the Sideline Grille concessions when visiting an Outlaws game as food is not particularly good, the rep didn't know how to use the register, and the register went down causing very slow service.
There is a pizza stand and a Denver Cheesesteaks stand. These might be your better options.
Other snacks include nachos, soft pretzels, popcorn, cracker jacks, candy, etc. ranging from $3.75 to $5.00.
The sodas are Coca-Cola products and are $6.00 or $9.00 for an all you can drink option.
Large domestic beers are $6.75. There is a Crafts and Drafts concession stand open which provides alternative beer options; draft and canned options which are much better than domestic, if that's your preference. The prices are about the same.
Sealed bottled water is allowed in the park as is outside food if it is in a clear plastic bag or container.
The best gate to enter the stadium is the south gate (between gates 9 and 10). This entrance area contains the ticket window, huge horse statues climbing a hill, and the Ring of Fame Plaza which contains monuments with inscriptions recognizing famous Broncos players and those who have made a difference in Broncos history (no Outlaws representation).
Around the exterior of the stadium, you'll find the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Legacy Pillars, each honoring a different inductee class of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (all sports throughout the state); not just lacrosse or football.
It is difficult to understand all the goal/penalty announcements at an Outlaws game as the sound is muffled. It's not that music is being played when announcements are made; the sound system is poor when attending an Outlaws game.
For the most part, the music volume level is acceptable. Even better, they don't play music when goals are announced making it easy for those who keep score. At the game I attended vs the Florida Launch, they played Rocket Man by Elton John when the Launch took the field. Very clever.
It's quite hard to get really enthused in a 76,000 seat stadium with a 9,000 or so attendance, although the attendance ranking is amongst the best of the MLL for the Outlaws.
The half time entertainment is usually a Jr. lacrosse scrimmage and is nicely done.
There are cheerleaders who perform on the field between quarters and greet fans as they enter the stadium.
Although somewhat close to downtown Denver, there is not much of a neighborhood within walking distance. There's basically a big parking lot surrounding the stadium. There is The Original Brooklyn's (a sports bar) a .3 mile walk directly straight when exiting Sports Authority Field's south side (the side with the galloping horse statues). Sports Authority Field is about a mile from the Pepsi Center (or one light rail stop). Tailgating is allowed and fans can enjoy corn toss and other pre-game events.
Union Station, the 16th Street Mall, and the many downtown restaurants, breweries, pubs, and shopping are just two light rail stops from Sports Authority Field. Near Union Station, I'd recommend Wynkoop Brewery at 18th St and Wynkoop St for a pre or post game drink/meal.
Elitch Gardens (Theme and Water Park) is also a mile away (one light rail stop), just across from the Pepsi Center and is worth a visit especially if you have kids.
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum is located on the west side of Sports Authority Field and is worth a visit.
There's a stop for the Platte Valley Trolley between the Light Rail Station and Sports Authority Field. The Platte Valley Trolley is an open trolley car ride along the scenic South Platte Greenway and the operators provide history about the area on the tour.
There is a Hotel VQ right next door, within walking distance.
Expect a lot of families and kids who may or may not want to be at the game. Expect a lot of spilled drinks in the stands.
Attendance at an Outlaws game generally ranks near the top of the MLL teams with an average at over 9,000 fans.
Outlaws fans do not generally know 'lacrosse etiquette' as many enter and exit during game play action and stand in the aisles when game is in play. Though, they all cheer on the team as the game progresses.
There is a Denver Outlaws fan known as JoJo WAR Drummer who is worth a mention. He stands on the sideline. He's got his face painted and he beats a bass drum throughout the entire game to support the team.
The get to Sports Authority Field for an Outlaws game one can drive, bike, or take the light rail.
When driving, take I-25, exit at Colfax Avenue and then exit at Federal Blvd north bound. Turn right at the first light (Dick Connor Ave). Since Outlaws games have a smaller attendance than the Broncos games, driving or parking will not be that difficult (July 4 games excluded). Parking is $10 ($30 for RVs). Cash only. Parking lots open three hours prior to the faceoff. Lots A, B, and C on the south side of Sports Authority Field are available for Outlaws games.
If you live in the area, Sports Authority Field at Mile High can be accessed directly via the South Platte Trail of the Denver bike trail system. There are over 300 on-site bike racks at the stadium.
If taking the RTD light rail, Sports Authority Field at Mile High Station (E Line) or Decatur-Federal Station (W Line) are the closet stations. Both are a short walking distance (less than ˝ mile) to the venue.
If you are flying in to catch a game, Denver International Airport (DIA) is the closest to the stadium. It is about 30 miles to the Sports Authority Field from DIA.
There is a nice, wide concourse. The restrooms have plenty of stalls for the Outlaws crowd, are clean before and after the game, and there is no wait.
New in 2014, the Outlaws implemented the clear bag policy (similar to NFL games). That policy is one clear bag no larger than 12" x 6" x 12" OR a one-gallon clear Ziploc freezer bag can be brought into the venue.
It is an inconvenience as a camera, binocular, wallet, medicine, sunscreen, chap stick, eye glasses, pencil, car keys, a clipboard for keeping score, etc. do not fit very well in a gallon Ziploc bag. And, even worse, they do not sell the required 12" x 6" x 12" clear bag (which is bigger than a Ziploc bag) at the Outlaws souvenir shop.
The Outlaws do provide a free clear plastic bag in which to place your articles as well as a tent to place your backpack or handbag which can be retrieved after the game, in case you didn't know about the rule.
Prices have gone up since Stadium Journey last visited.
Ticket prices for a single game range from $12 - $45. The General Admission seats are $12; the Corral Seats are $45. The Corral seats are the first few rows on the empty side of the stadium and are almost always sold out. Ticket prices are less at the stadium than via the Outlaws website so if just going to a single game, get them when you arrive for the game.
For a casual visitor, Stadium Journey recommends getting the General Admission seats and sitting higher up, and under cover (in the shade) from the sometimes deadly sun during Colorado summers.
Food prices are the common, overpriced amounts expected at stadium venues and not worth the expense especially for the lack of quality.
There are also ticket specials so check the Outlaws website for specifics.
There is a dedication by the Rockies and SABR to the former Bears Stadium (later named Mile High Stadium). I never did find the home plate commemorative plaque, but I'm sure it's there.
Stadium tours are available at Sports Authority Field.
People attend a game or event for many different reasons. Most of the time, you’re going to root on a team that you’ve followed your whole life; sometimes you go because you know someone playing and sometimes you go just because you have nothing else to do on a Friday night. Sometimes, once you get to your destination, your “Friday night” ends up being a great time. This is the situation that can be encountered for the Robert Morris Colonial Hockey team and its 84 Lumber Arena (formerly known as the RMU Island Sports Center).
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