Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Mile High Stadium II
Former names Invesco Field at Mile High (2001–2011)
Sports Authority Field at Mile High (2011–present)
Address 1701 Mile High Stadium Circle
Location Denver, Colorado
Coordinates 39°44′38″N 105°1′12″W / 39.74389°N 105.02000°W / 39.74389; -105.02000Coordinates: 39°44′38″N 105°1′12″W / 39.74389°N 105.02000°W / 39.74389; -105.02000
Public transit Sports Authority Field at Mile High (RTD)
Owner Denver Metropolitan Football Stadium District
Operator Stadium Management Company
Executive suites 132
Capacity 76,125 (football)
up to 50,000 (concerts)
Surface Kentucky Bluegrass[1]
Broke ground August 17, 1999
Opened September 10, 2001[2]
Construction cost $400.7 million
($536 million in 2016 dollars[3])
Architect HNTB
Fentress Architects
Bertram A. Burton and Associates
Project manager ICON Venue Group[4]
Structural engineer Walter P Moore[5]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[6]
General contractor Turner/Empire/Alvarado[5]
Denver Broncos (NFL) (2001–present)
Denver Outlaws (MLL) (2006–present)
Colorado Rapids (MLS) (2001–2006)

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, previously known as Invesco Field at Mile High, and commonly known as Mile High or Mile High Stadium, is an American football stadium in Denver, Colorado. The field is named after a sponsor and the stadium is named Mile High. The stadium's primary tenant is the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). The stadium opened in 2001 to replace Mile High Stadium. The stadium was largely paid for by taxpayers in the Denver metropolitan area and the property is owned by a special taxing district.[7][8] More controversially, Invesco paid $120 million for the original naming rights, before Sports Authority secured the naming rights on August 16, 2011.[9]

Despite its sponsor's liquidation and closure, the Sports Authority name is still being used on the stadium for the time being due to contract reasons.

Naming rights controversy

Many fans opposed a corporate name and wished to retain the previous venue's name, "Mile High Stadium."[10] The Denver Post initially refused to use the Invesco label and referred to it as Mile High Stadium for several years before changing its policy and adding Invesco to articles.

On August 16, 2011, The Metropolitan Stadium District announced Invesco would immediately transfer the naming rights to Englewood, Colorado-based Sports Authority in a 25-year agreement worth $6 million per year.[9] After Sports Authority missed two quarterly payments as a result of its March 2016 bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation, the Broncos organization and the Metropolitan Football Stadium District are seeking to terminate the naming rights contract.[11]

In 2016, several Colorado legislators attempted to pass a bill in the Colorado State Legislature that would require the "Mile High" moniker regardless of any naming rights deal, citing the large public contribution to the stadium's construction;[12] the bill failed to pass out of a Senate Committee in May 2016.[13]


It is used primarily for American football games. It is the home field for Denver's National Football League team, the Denver Broncos. The stadium also hosts the city's Major League Lacrosse team, the Denver Outlaws. In college football it has hosted the rivalry game between the Colorado State University Rams and the University of Colorado Boulder Buffaloes. It is also used for the CHSAA class 4A and 5A Colorado high school football state championship games, and has been used for the CBA Marching Band Finals.

In addition, it has been used for the DCI (Drum Corps International) Championships in 2004 and the annual Drums Along the Rockies competition. It is also used for concerts, music festivals and other events, and was home to the city's Major League Soccer franchise, the Colorado Rapids, before that team built and moved into Dick's Sporting Goods Park in suburban Commerce City.


The construction of the stadium marked the completion of a six-year sporting venue upgrade program in Denver, including the construction of Coors Field and of Pepsi Center. As with the other venues, the stadium was constructed to be easily accessible. It sits along Interstate 25 near the Colfax Avenue and 17th Avenue exits. It is also bordered by Federal Boulevard, a major Denver thoroughfare, on the west side. A dedicated light rail station also serves the stadium. The stadium is located in the Sun Valley neighborhood.

Stadium culture and traditions

A home game tradition (carried over from the original Mile High Stadium) is the "Incomplete Chant." At Bronco home games, when the opposing team throws an incomplete pass, the stadium announcer will state "Pass thrown by [the opposing quarterback] intended for [the opposing intended receiver] is..." at which time the fans complete the sentence by shouting "IN-COM-PLETE!!" This is followed by the "sad trombone" sound effect.[14]

The stadium has sold out every Denver Broncos' home game since its inception in 2001, extending the "sold-out" streak that began during the team's tenure at Mile High Stadium, where every home game had been sold out since 1970 (though due to NFL policy, local TV broadcasts of sold-out games did not start until 1973). In a tradition carried over from Mile High Stadium, the stadium's public-address announcer will give the final official attendance for the game, including the number of unused tickets; in response, Broncos fans "boo" the no-shows.

During the stadium's first years, in another tradition was carried over from Mile High, Broncos fans on one side of the stadium would chant "Go" and fans on the other side would respond "Broncos," back and forth chanting for several minutes. That tradition has since died out. Another long-term tradition is famed rowdiness of fans seated in the "South Stands," although this tradition has diminished significantly as well.

Finally, especially in the upper two decks, the fans create their own 'Mile High Thunder' (and warm themselves) by stamping their feet on the stadium's floors. The old Mile High Stadium was built with bare metal, and the 'Thunder' reverberated readily. The new stadium was built with steel floors to preserve this unique acoustic.[15]

On December 21, 2012, the Broncos announced a $30 million renovation project prior to the start of the 2013 season, including a new high-definition LED video board on the stadium's south end zone that triples the size of the old video board.[16]

In 2013 it was revealed that a Kansas City Chiefs jersey (Neil Smith) was buried somewhere near the 50-yard line by a couple of out-of-state contractors during renovations.[17]

NFL events

Sports Authority Field at Mile High before the start of the 2013 AFC Championship game.

On September 10, 2001, the stadium hosted its first regular season NFL game, in which the Broncos defeated the New York Giants 31–20. In a pre-game ceremony, Broncos legends John Elway, Steve Atwater, Randy Gradishar, Haven Moses, Billy Thompson, Floyd Little, Dennis Smith, and Karl Mecklenburg helped to "Move the Thunder" from the old Mile High Stadium to the new home of the Broncos.

The stadium has hosted several NFL playoff games. It hosted the 2005 AFC Divisional playoff game, in which Denver defeated the New England Patriots 27–13. The following week, it hosted the AFC Championship Game, which the Broncos lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 34–17. On January 8, 2012, the stadium hosted its third NFL playoff game, an AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Steelers. The Broncos won in overtime, 29–23. On January 12, 2013, the stadium hosted its fourth NFL playoff game, an AFC Divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos lost to the Ravens 38–35 in double overtime.

On October 29, 2007, a record crowd of 77,160 watched the Broncos lose to the Green Bay Packers 19–13 on Monday Night Football on the first play from scrimmage in overtime.

On November 26, 2009, it hosted its first Thanksgiving game, when the Broncos took on the Giants. The game was televised on the NFL Network, which the Broncos won by a final score of 26–6.

On January 19, 2014, the Broncos defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, 26–16 in front of 77,110 fans in attendance, advancing to their first Super Bowl since they began play in the new stadium.

On January 17, 2016, the Broncos defeated the Steelers in the AFC Divisional playoffs, 23–16 in front of 77,100, advancing to the AFC Championship Game for the 10th time in franchise history.

On January 24, 2016, the Broncos defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, 20–18 in front of 77,100, advancing to Super Bowl 50, which they won two weeks later.

Other notable events

The field at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The main entrance of the stadium, when it was known as Invesco Field at Mile High.
The south end zone as it looked during the final day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Satellite view of stadium
Detailed view of seats colored to form the Denver Broncos logo.

The stadium has hosted other sports events. The first football game held was the Rocky Mountain Showdown, when the University of Colorado Buffaloes defeated the Colorado State University Rams, 41–14. On July 2, 2005, it hosted the 2005 Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game. In 2006, Major League Lacrosse placed the expansion Outlaws in Denver.

The stadium has held several concerts. The first event held was a concert by the Eagles. Irish rock band U2 performed at the stadium on May 21, 2011, during their U2 360° Tour in front of a sold out crowd of 77,918 people. The show was originally to be held on June 12, 2010, but was postponed, due to Bono's emergency back surgery.

In August 2004, it hosted the Drum Corps International Division I World Championships.[18]

On August 28, 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States here, moving the 2008 Democratic National Convention from Pepsi Center. Approximately 84,000 people attended Obama's speech, exceeding the normal capacity of the stadium due to the placement of audience on the field.[19][20][21][22]

On July 26, 2014, Sports Authority Field at Mile High hosted a soccer match between Manchester United and A.S. Roma which was part of the 2014 International Champions Cup and Manchester United won the match 3-2.[23]

Denver Broncos Ring of Fame

The Denver Broncos Ring of Fame was created in 1984 by team owner Pat Bowlen to honor former players and administrators who played significant roles in the franchise's history. The names and years of service (and in most cases, jersey numbers) of the men inducted into the ring are displayed on the Level 5 facade of the stadium. There is no specific number of new members that may be chosen for induction in any given year; in many years, no new members were inducted. The members of the ring are:

* Also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

While the Ring of Fame was carried over from the old stadium to the new, the names were re-ordered to separate the inductees who served the team during the pre-Pat Bowlen (the team's current owner and founder of the Ring) era from those who served during Bowlen's ownership. One of the most noticeable changes was the move of John Elway's name to the center of the ring, located directly between the goalposts of the north end zone.[24]

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum

The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum opened in August 2001. It is located at Gate #1 on the west side of the stadium.

See also


  3. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  4. Sports Authority Field at Mile High ICON Venue Group
  5. 1 2 "Inside the Construction of Invesco Field at Mile High". SportsBusiness Journal. September 3, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  6. M-E Engineers, Inc. - Projects
  7. Murphy, Chuck (2012-01-27). "Tax off books, but not registers". Denver Post. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  9. 1 2 Caldwell, Gray (August 16, 2011). "A New Home". Denver Broncos. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  10. Favre, Gregory E. (August 10, 2006). "A Mile High Controversy". Retrieved September 25, 2006.
  11. Wallace, Alicia (May 31, 2016). "Broncos want to nix sponsorship agreement after Sports Authority misses payments". The Denver Post. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  12. Bunch, Joey (April 26, 2016). "Bill would forever preserve "Mile High" in Broncos' stadium name". The Denver Post. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  13. Bunch, Joey (May 5, 2016). "Senate Republicans kill bill to retain "Mile High" in stadium's name". The Denver Post. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  14. "FAQ". Denver Broncos.
  15. "The New And Improved Mile High". Stadium Journey.
  16. Klis, Mike (December 21, 2012). "Broncos, Stadium District to spend $30 million on Mile High improvements". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  17. "Troy claims a secret lies beneath the 50 yard line... | The Rick Lewis Show | 103.5 The Fox". 103.5 The Fox. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  18. "Drum Corps International Past Champions and Locations".
  19. "Obama Accepts Democrat Nomination". BBC News. BBC. August 29, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  20. "Obama Greeted By Screaming Crowd at Stadium". Associated Press. August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  21. Lloyd, Robert (August 29, 2008). "Barack Obama, Al Gore Raise the Roof at Invesco Field". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  22. Wangsness, Lisa (August 29, 2008). "Some Saw Spectacular, Others Just Spectacle". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  23. It included a 60 yard goal by Miralem Pjanic of AS Roma, adding to mile high's reputation as a good place to kick long field goals. United Survive late Roma Surge to gain first ICC Victory July 26, 2014 Retrieved July 27, 2014
  24. Ringo, Kyle. "Kickoff: Birth of a Stadium". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on July 22, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Events and tenants
Preceded by
Mile High Stadium
Home of the
Denver Broncos

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mile High Stadium
Home of the
Denver Outlaws

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mile High Stadium
Home of the
Colorado Rapids

Succeeded by
Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Preceded by
Citrus Bowl
Host of the
Drum Corps International
World Championship

Succeeded by
Gillette Stadium
Preceded by
Heinz Field
Gillette Stadium
Gillette Stadium
Host of AFC Championship Game
Succeeded by
RCA Dome
Gillette Stadium
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