Touring Mile High

A three day conference had me in Denver, Colorado.  Unfortunately, the timing didn’t line up for me to combine two of my favourite things – travel and football. To make up for that, I decided to use a bit of the very limited free time I had to do a tour of the Broncos stadium – Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  A short light rail ride from downtown and ten minute walk away I came upon the stadium:

Sports Authority Field at Mile HighI love the behind the scenes look you get on most stadium tours.  First and foremost of course is to see the stadium and playing field itself.  The tour here in Denver was led by a wonderful gentleman, Mike, who was clearly a big Broncos fan and knew his stuff.  We had a pretty eclectic tour group as well – people from Arkansas, Mexico City, Seattle and Quebec to name a few.

Our first stop was in a private suite with an incredible view of the field.  I could get used to watching football from a vantage point like this.  I’m just lacking the $500,000/yr or so to make it a reality.  We got a great view of the grounds crew covering the field in advance of a storm that would hit the city the next day:

View from a club suiteThe tour continued to another suite a few levels up in the north end zone.  Not a bad view from here either:

View from one of the end zone private boxesWe made stops in the TV broadcast booth (amazingly bare to allow for each network to outfit it they way they need for each broadcast) and the press boxes before heading downstairs.

On the lower level of the stadium, there were a few stops.  FIrst, the visitor’s locker room.  Really, quite big compared to some other locker rooms I’ve seen on stadium tours.  One of the best parts was seeing the hot and cold tubs in here.  They were brought over from the old stadium and I’m not sure how a 330 lb lineman would actually get in them (a little “home field advantage” I presume):

Visitor's locker roomSomething I hadn’t seen on a stadium tour before was a central beer room.  In Denver, there are 5 of these that supply all the beer to all the concession stands throughout the stadium:

Keg roomOne of the funniest things I’ve seen on a tour – this is the sign for the officials’ locker room.  Note the braille in the upper right corner.  Kind of explains some of the calls we’ve seen in the NFL this year if you ask me.

Officials' locker room signLeaving the best for last, we got to walk out onto the field and spend about ten minutes taking in the view.  This is from the visitor’s side of the field looking toward the north endzone:

From the fieldLooking toward the south endzone, the famous bucking bronco on top of the scoreboard.  This was brought over from the old stadium:

From the fieldThanks to tour guide Mike, here’s a picture of me from field level:

Me at field levelThis is only the second NFL stadium tour I’ve done, both of which have requested you stay off the playing surface. But like in Philadelphia last year, I couldn’t resist so that I could say I actually “stepped on the field” in Denver:

Stepping on the field

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