The idea for today’s adventure came from a friend who mentioned the Sports Authority Field at Mile High stadium gives tours to the public. I thought that is something different! Football is America’s favorite sport and there is always so much excitement here in Denver when the Broncos are playing. Having never been able to afford to go to a Broncos game, I figured the next best way to see this 14 year old stadium is through a guided tour. The Sports Authority stadium caters to other sporting events as well, such as the lacrosse team, occasional college football games, and most recently the Guinness International Champions Cup (soccer). I learned all sorts of interesting things about this stadium; some I think a devoted fan may not even know about.
The first one: have you ever noticed the stadium is in the shape of a horseshoe? I didn’t! If you look at this picture, you can also see the older Mile High stadium before they tore it down in 2001. The new stadium allows for more space, but oddly enough there are the same amount of seats (about 76,000). They included more restaurants, bathrooms, and club level suites and they also wanted the seats to be as close to the field as possible.
The tour starts out in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. There were a lot of interesting things in here, but I didn’t get much time to look around because the tour was starting. The tour started out with a chock-full of information about the history of the stadium. I learned it cost $400 million to build, which $300 million of it was paid for by the metro Denver area taxpayers. You’re welcome, Broncos!
Our first stop on the tour was a seat in one of the executive suites. Companies pay just a mere $125,000 per year for season tickets in one of these suites. Catered food? That’s an extra $75,000. It did have a pretty great view, though. And on a cold, snowy day I’d imagine those heated leather chairs would be really nice to sit in.
Continuing on, the places we visited got fancier and fancier. There was the United Club Level; which was a big, open, lounge area for those who can afford it, the Bud Light Champions Club; you have to have a special invitation to get in here by being either a politician, celebrity, or retired NFL player of sorts, and then the Party Suites; open to the public for only $12 – $15k per game.
Another interesting place our tour guide took us to was the PR room and press level. I could envision how busy this level would be on game day with sports announcers, television crews, and journalists capturing all the field action. They also assign the PR room seating, giving the Broncos PR the best view and the visiting team’s PR much farther down the line.
Next we went down to the field level. We walked past Thunder’s stall (the Broncos’ horse that stampedes down the field whenever they score a touchdown) but sadly, instead of a white stallion, I saw the stall was being used for storage. We went in to the visitor’s locker room and I was surprised to see how plain it looked. (Not that football players are really focused on the decor in their locker room!) I was really bummed we didn’t go in the Broncos’ locker room, but I can understand the reasonings behind why it’s off limits to the public – Peyton Manning’s plaque would probably go missing on a weekly basis.
Our last stop on the tour was worth the wait – we got to step out onto the field! The stadium looks remarkable at this level. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be an NFL football player and have all 76,00+ people staring down at you from that point of view. And the seats were considerably close to the field; I would say there’s really not a bad seat in the house!
I thought that this was such a fun experience. I liked how the tour wasn’t just all about how great the Broncos are, but an in-depth look at the Sports Authority stadium as a whole. It is fascinating to realize the magnitude of work that must go into putting on a football game here. Whether you are a Broncos fan or not, or even a football fan or not, I think anyone could enjoy taking a tour at this stadium. I can’t wait to impress my Broncos fan friends with all the little fun facts I learned!
Details: Tickets to tour the stadium are $15 for adults and $12 for children 12 years and under. Parking is free and there is great signage to help you find the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (Gate 1), which is the meeting spot for the tour. The schedule varies depending on the season. Reservations are recommended. For reservations, you can call the Hall of Fame directly at 720-258-3888.
Getting There: From I-25 northbound, exit at 17th Avenue. From I-25 southbound, exit at Colfax Avenue, then exit at Federal Blvd northbound. Turn right at the first light (Dick Connor Ave). You can also take the light rail lines C, E, and W and get off at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High Station.