Sports Authority at Mile High Stadium
Denver Broncos Stadium Tour
November 23, 2009
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Capacity: 76,125 seats
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Draft Beer: $8.00
Hot Dog: $4.75
Stadium Parking: $30.00
1701 Bryant Street
Denver, CO 80204
Stadium Review - Sports Authority Field Stadium Tour
My 28th Stadium on the Quest for 31 was Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado, which I visited in November of 2009. Fortunately for me, stadium tours are offered each Monday after gameday, so I seized the opportunity and arranged for a tour while I was in town. Invesco Field is a more than impressive facility. Built with public funding on the same site as the original Mile High Stadium, the designers of Invesco Field strived to maintain several of the design elements that made the original Stadium such an imposing place for visiting teams to play in. The horse shoe shape of the original Mile High Stadium was kept for the stadium's upper deck, as were the great site lines that were afforded by the steep sided bowl design. Designers also inserted the familiar steel treads and risers that Broncos fans were accustomed to stomping on in order to create the trademark Rocky Mountain Thunder, which sends a booming wall of noise to the field level to disrupt opposing offenses. The final accent that stadium creators carried over from the original Mile High Stadium was Bucky the Bronco, the 1600 pound, 27-foot tall horse statue that was created from a mold of the most recognizable horse in show business, Trigger, the horse of Roy Rogers. The Denver Broncos actually obtained special permission from Roy Rogers in 1975 to obtain a mold of the mounted horse's remains which are still on display at the Roy Rogers Dale Evans Museum located in Branson, Missouri. The only stipulation being that the Bronco's horse could not be named "Trigger". After a contest run by the Denver Post, the name Bucky was selected as the most popular entry submitted to the newspaper, much to the chagrin of the Broncos faithful.
Tours of Stadium are available during select times throughout the week and they are run by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization that resides onsite at Invesco Field At Mile High. Stadium tours begin at the Colorado Sport Hall of Fame located just inside Gate 1 on the west side of Invesco Field at Mile High. The tour is extremely informative and reasonably priced at $9 for adults, $7 for kids and seniors. I would even suggest arriving a few minutes early to allow yourself extra time to peruse the exhibits and take a walk into the kids zone where parents and kids can try on NFL gear including player pads, helmets and even Denver Broncos cheerleader apparel.
i was actually quite impressed by the depth of knowledge of the stadium tour guides as they relayed facts, figures and stadium anecdotes to visitors throughout the 75 minute walking tour. Our tour began with a walk to the suite level to see how some of the more affluent Broncos fans take in the typical gameday. With exceptional site lines, leather seating, and plenty of food and drink served throughout the day, the hefty price tag that each suite carries with it seemed well worth the creature comforts they provide. Also at this time, tour guides provided a detailed description of the innovative DD GrassMaster natural grass field system that is employed on the playing surface at Invesco Field. Utilizing synthetic fibers to stabilize the natural grass root system and providing artificial ground warming through a network of underground water-heated piping and improved drainage, the DD GrassMaster System is capable of extending the growing season of the natural grass throughout the winter months. With a root system that doesn't freeze and a synthetic fiber network that provides protection against the ruts and divots that are typical with the traditional sod systems, this natural grass system is a more stable surface for pro football play especially in the temperature and climatic extremes of the colder outdoor venues dotted throughout the NFL. The DD GrassMaster System is also being effectively used at Heinz Field in Pitsburgh, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Following our visit to the suite level, our tour continued to the United Club level where common areas hosted leather furniture and full sized bars serviced the needs of Club level patrons on gameday. Although access to outdoor club level seating is provided for these privileged few, it was easy to see why those seats always seemed empty on gameday. Massive concourses providing plenty of gathering spots were flanked by flat screen TV's to keep club level guests abreast of the gameday happenings in a warmer, more inviting environment. The harsh Denver winter is easily kept at bay by remaining in these cozy confines while sipping on a glass of wine or a beverage of choice from the bar. I'm not sure it's where I'd be most comfortable on an NFL gameday, but I can certainly see the attraction to some.
Our next stop was the gameday broadcast booth, which is the nerve center of the gameday telecast. Fairly plain in design, there were plenty of media ports to provide and route camera feeds from all over the stadium which link into the live video feed. The press box was next and it was one of the largest I've seen. Wrapping along the entire sideline of the west side of the stadium the press box is where writers from the local and national press gather to eat, drink, and analyze the game. Power, phone, and internet connections are provided at each station, with a great view of the action down below.
After a walk through the press box, we headed to the visiting team's locker room. Very few Stadium tours actually allow access to the home team locker room, but I was most impressed by the description of the psychological games that NFL teams will play with the visiting team locker room layout (all within the guidelines established by the NFL). The carpet used in the locker room was specifically patterned to disorient and when coupled with the lighter Mile High air, the thought was that it might cause visiting players a bit of additional discomfort. The layout of your typical football locker room is usually completely open without an divisive forces, in this locker room an interior wall of lockers extends into the middle of the room in order to figuratively divide the room. One game clock is required in each NFL locker room. In the Broncos Locker room there are game clocks on every wall, but in the visitors locker room, one game clock is mounted on an interior wall out of view for most of the team. the list goes on and on, including the provision of older equipment and even putting the team kicker in the locker that's required to comply with handicapped regulations. It was probably the most entertaining part of the tour.
On gameday, as the players are introduced, the Denver Broncos horse, Thunder, trots onto the field to the delight of the crowd. As part of our tour we stopped by Thunder's stall to see where he resides throughout the game and then into the Keg room where beer is stored and cooled before being routed to each beer tap throughout the facility. The tour ends with a visit to the field for a closer look at the DD GrassMaster natural grass field surface, which is a great photo opportunity , but unfortunately guests are not allowed on the field surface itself. All things considered I found the stadium tour to be one of the more informative facility tours I've taken. I would definitely recommend it to any Denver Broncos fan or football fan for that matter.
For more information on the city of Denver, Colorado, check out my other review by clicking on the link below:
NFL: November 22, 2009 - San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
|City of Denver Local Information|
Top Tourist Attractions:
Pike's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Forest, Garden of the gods
Take a Tour of the Coors Brewery
Big Blue Bear
Rocky Mountain Oysters
What They're Drinkin':
Fat Tire, Coors, All types of locally brewed microbrews.
Lot C with the Mile High Jester
Lot M with Danny the Greek
Pocket Map of Denver
RTD Light Rail System Map
Stadium Parking Map
Local Sports Media:
The Denver Post
LoDo District - (Giggling Grizzly, LoDo's, Red Square, The Wine Loft)
The Corner Office, 9th Door, Walnut Room
The Fort (Buffalo, Elk, Quail - typically western pioneer cuisine)
Falling Rock Tap House
LODO's Bar and Grill
Steubens (Local Restaurant - try the green-chile cheesburger)
Getting to the Stadium:
To fully experience Mile High Stadium, you need to drive there to take part in some top end tailgating. There are plenty of spaces available and parking is a reasonable $30. If you prefer public transportation, the RTD is available. Take the orange or purple lines to the Invesco Field station.
Where To Stay:
Downtown Denver is where you want to stay. With the stadium close by and the nightlife all around you, I would suggest Sheraton Downtown or the Hyatt. The Red Lion Hotel or the Days Inn are also good options.
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Take a Stadium Tour of Sports Authority Field at Mile High:
Sports Authority Field Stadium Tours - click here for info
Ticket Prices: Adults $9, Kids/Seniors $7
Phone Number: 720-258-3888
Areas Covered: Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum, Party Suites, United Club Level, Budweiser Champions Club, Visitor's Locker Room, Keg room, The Field, Thunder's Stall, Press Box, and much more.
Hours: Tours begin every hour from 10:00am to 2:00pm and last about 75-minutes unless otherwise specified. Visitors should meet at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum located just inside Gate 1 on the west side of Invesco Field. Tours are unavailable on some days, therefore reservations are suggested.
Stadium tours of Invesco Field are available on the following days:
- Sept-Dec & Mar-May: Tues-Sat,10:00am-2:00pm,on thehour
- Jan - Feb: Thurs & Fri 10:00am, Noon, and 2:00pm only
Saturday: 10:00am - 2:00pm, on the hour
- Jun - Aug: Tues - Sat, 10:00am-2:00pm, on the hour
- Monday after Broncos Games - 10:00am tour available
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|Club Level Leather||The Budweiser Champions Club||Visitors Locker Room|
|Miles of Cooled Pop and Beer Piping||The Keg Room - My Favorite Spot||The Stall for "Thunder" the Horse|
|Checking out the DD GrassMaster Turf||Can't Wait for Gameday||The Denver Broncos Pro Shop|
|Terrell Davis's Teeth||A fond farewell to Invesco Field||Our tour guides Kristen And Laura|