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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Empower Field at Mile High - Denver Broncos

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Empower Field at Mile High 1701 Bryant St Denver, CO 80204

Year Opened: 2001

Capacity: 76,125


The Stadium with a Real Altitude

The Denver Broncos are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL. They were one of the teams to join the NFL in the NFL-AFL merger and enjoyed great success , winning championships in both leagues. The team is a two-time Super Bowl Champion and appeared in the game on four other occasions.

Empower Field at Mile High Stadium has a seating capacity of 75,125. It features 8,200 club level seats and 144 luxury suites. The seating bowl at the stadium is in the shape of a horseshoe in keeping with the team’s equine-based moniker. It features a ribbon board down each of the sidelines and a huge HD scoreboard at the south end of the stadium measuring 220’ X 40’. Open captioning is projected on 4 ribbon boards in each corner of the stadium for those with hearing impairments.

Throughout their existence, the team has played in a venue known as Mile High Stadium in recognition of the field’s presence in the Mile High City and its elevation of 5,280 feet above sea level. This has always been an advantage of the home team, as visiting teams often have difficulty acclimating to the altitude and getting winded easily. The first Mile High Stadium was built in 1948 and served the team through 2001. The present facility opened in time for the 2001 season. In the era of corporately tagged stadiums, Mile High Stadium has been known as Invesco Field (2001-2011), Sports Authority Field (2011-2018), Denver Broncos Field (2017-2018) and its present name of Empower Field since the beginning of the 2019 season. The Mile High Stadium portion of the name has been retained throughout all these changes. This review was done prior to the rechristening of the stadium, when it was still Denver Broncos Field at Mile High Stadium.

Food & Beverage 3

Mile High Stadium offers a wide variety of food and beverages to suit all tastes. They include nachos ($5), hot dogs ($5), brats ($9), cheesesteaks ($10), burgers ($9), pulled pork sandwiches ($10), pork belly BLT’s ($15), french dip sandwiches ($12), corned beef sandwiches ($15), chicken tenders ($9), pizza ($7.50), tacos ($10) and tamales ($8). Snacks include popcorn ($5), peanuts ($4.75) and pretzels ($5).

The stadium offers Coca Cola brand sodas for $5, bottled water for $7.50, domestic beers for $7, premium beers for $9.25 and wine for $7.50.

Atmosphere 4

The Broncos begin building a great atmosphere for the fans before you even enter the stadium.

The south end of the complex includes the Sports Legend Mall, which is the ground zero for pregame tailgating. It includes space for vendors, a stage for musical entertainment and the Ring of Fame, which includes plaques honoring the elite Broncos of the past. As you move closer to the stadium you will encounter one of the centerpiece art installations at Mile High. The Stampede features seven bronco horses charging up an elevated stream similar to the waters found in the nearby mountains.

Another defining feature at Mile High is located at the northern end of the complex. The Mile High Monument is a miniature replica of Mile High Stadium. It includes exhibits highlighting the defining games and outstanding performances that have taken place inside of the stadium. The pregame Fun Fest takes place here with performances by the Stampede Drumline, the Broncos Dance Team and appearances by the Broncos cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot.

Once inside the stadium your eyes will be drawn to the top of the video board in the south end zone. You will see a white bronco raising up on its back legs. This is Bucky the Bronco, a fixture of the first Mile High Stadium that has found a new life at the new venue. You will also notice the stadium seating grid is in the shape of a horseshoe in keeping with the team name.

The atmosphere reaches its zenith during the pregame introduction of players. The team is led out onto the field by an Arabian gelding named Thunder, who also charges through the end zone after a Broncos score. The crowd reacts to entry of the team with a demonstration of Rolling Thunder, the stomping of the feet on the metal bleachers, which makes the whole stadium shake.

Neighborhood 3

Empower Field at Mile High Stadium is in the Sun Valley neighborhood in between downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains, just west of I-25. This gives fans in the West stands a birds eye view of the downtown Denver skyline and fans in the East stands a view of the beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop to the stadium.

Amongst the stadium’s neighbors are the Pepsi Center, home of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Elitch Gardens Amusement Park and the University of Colorado Auraria campus. If the schedule works out, you can often attend a doubleheader of a Broncos game followed by a nightcap of an Avalanche/Nuggets game next door.

Fans 5

Denver Bronco fans are amongst the most loyal and loudest fans in the NFL. They have sold out the 76,125-seat stadium for every game since its construction. The waiting list for season tickets presently has 85,000 names on it and has an expected wait time of 10-15 years. The fans show their loyalty by their presence in some of the most frigid conditions this side of Green Bay during the November and December portions of the regular season and the playoffs.

The Denver fans are known for their bright orange attire as a show of support for the team (it also shows up very well on TV games when there is a blizzard going on). Their capability of creating noise when needed is known as Rolling Thunder and is created by the fans stomping their feet on the metal flooring of the stadium. This causes the stadium to vibrate.

Access 3

The home of the Broncos can be easily accessed via I-25 and taking exit 201-C coming from the north or the south. Once off the freeway, finding parking can be problematic as there are only 7,500 spaces at the stadium itself. These typically are reserved for season ticket holders. An additional 15,000 spaces are available at nearby lots serving the Pepsi Center, the Denver Aquarium and the Aurora Campus. The Denver Rapid Transit District (RTD) light rail system is a very popular option, as its C, E and W lines service the Mile High Stadium Station.

The stadium is also one of the few NFL venues that can be accessed via bike. The South Platte Bike Trail runs right by the east side of Mile High Stadium. The stadium has more than 360 bike racks available for fans who choose this mode of transportation.

Once at Mile High Stadium, it is important to know your seat location before entering the venue. Because of its horseshoe shape, the stadium does not have a 360 degree concourse. You will also find the main concourse to be somewhat confusing, as you enter at one level, then need to go down a level to reach a majority of the food and beverage stands and the lower level of the stands.

Empower Field at Mile High Stadium utilizes the same security precautions as all other NFL stadiums. It is best to travel as light as possible into the stadium, with any belongings in a clear plastic bag.

Return on Investment 4

Ticket prices for Broncos games are amongst the highest in the NFL at an average price of $297.This is due to the decades-long record of sellouts over the years. Sometimes tickets can be found in the $40-$50 range when the game features an opponent with a poor record or a non-traditional opponent from another conference. Parking is $30 in the main Broncos parking lot on a first come, first serve basis, while lots at the alternate lots average $15-$20. The best buy travel-wise is to buy a day pass on the RTD light rail for $6. The concessions prices are about average for the NFL, but they do offer a wider menu selection with many regional favorites.

Extras 3

The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame is in Mile High Stadium. It salutes athletes who grew up in Colorado or had their sports careers in the state. Membership covers all sports and includes athletes from high school sports all the way up to the professional level.

Empower Field at Mile High Stadium hosts a wide variety of non-Broncos events throughout the year. These include the Rocky Mountain Showdown football game between Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, CONCAF Gold Cup soccer contest and the state championship football games for every level of Colorado high school football. It was also the site of then Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech after he was named as the Presidential nominee at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The Bud Light Rooftops are located on the 500 level of both the east and west stands. They offer full bar service and heated high-top tables along with terrific views of both downtown Denver and peaks of the Rocky Mountains

Final Thoughts

A great team history, great fans, a diverse menu of food and beverage items, along with the natural beauty of the nearby Rocky Mountains makes Empower Field at Mile High Stadium a high priority for anybody’s NFL bucket list. It also makes a great add-on activity for your ski vacation in late fall and early winter. Make sure you arrive early to enjoy the western hospitality and the many pieces of stunning public art that dot the stadium complex.

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