Empower Field at Mile High

The Empower Field at Mile High (previously known as Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Invesco Field at Mile High and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and commonly known as Mile High, New Mile High or Mile High Stadium) is an American football stadium in Denver, Colorado, named Mile High due to the city's elevation of 5,280 feet (1,610 m).[6]

Empower Field at Mile High
Exterior view of stadium (c.2014)
Former namesInvesco Field (2001–11)
Sports Authority Field (2011–18)
Broncos Stadium (2018–19)
Address1701 Mile High Stadium Cir
Denver, CO 80204-1771
LocationSun Valley
Public transitRTD:
 C   E   W 
at Empower Field at Mile High
OwnerMetropolitan Football Stadium District
Executive suites132
Capacity76,125 (football)
up to 60,000 (concerts)
SurfaceKentucky Bluegrass[1]
Broke groundAugust 17, 1999
OpenedSeptember 10, 2001
Construction cost$400.7 million
($603 million in 2018 dollars[2])
Project managerICON Venue Group[3]
Structural engineerWalter P Moore[4]
Services engineerM-E Engineers, Inc.[5]
General contractor
Denver Broncos (NFL) (2001–present)
Denver Outlaws (MLL) (2006–present)
Colorado Rapids (MLS) (2002–06)

The primary tenant is the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). It opened in 2001 to replace Mile High Stadium and was largely paid for by taxpayers.[7][8] Invesco paid $120 million for the original naming rights, before Sports Authority secured them in 2011.[9]

Despite its sponsor's liquidation and closure in 2016, the Sports Authority name remained on the stadium for two years afterwards because of regulatory hurdles. Nevertheless, the Broncos announced on January 2, 2018 that the stadium's exterior signage would be removed.[10] The stadium took on a temporary name, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, for the remainder of 2018 - including the 2018 NFL season - and part of 2019 before a new corporate naming rights agreement with Empower Retirement was announced on September 4, 2019.[11]

Naming rights controversy

Many fans opposed a corporate name and wished to retain the previous venue's name, "Mile High Stadium."[12] 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-based Sports Authority in a 25-year agreement worth $6 million per year.[9] In August 2016, the Denver Broncos paid $3,601,890 to the Metropolitan Football Stadium District to purchase the naming rights to the stadium.[13]

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;[14] the bill failed to pass out of a Senate Committee in May 2016.[15]


The stadium 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 a Drum Corps International (DCI) Championship 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.

On June 23, 2018, England played New Zealand in a rugby league match at the stadium.[16]


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!!".[17]

The stadium also continued the tradition of displaying Bucky the Bronco, a 30-foot high replica of Roy Rogers horse, Trigger, on top of the main scoreboard.[18]

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 feature.[19]

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.[20]

In 2013, it was revealed that a Neil Smith Kansas City Chiefs jersey was buried somewhere near the 50-yard line by a couple of out-of-state contractors during renovations, despite Smith's play on the Broncos' Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII-winning teams. The curse the contractors hoped to create did not occur as the Broncos won another Super Bowl two years later, Super Bowl 50.[21]

Notable events

NFL events

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.[22]

On November 26, 2009, it hosted its first Thanksgiving game, when the Broncos took on the Giants. The game was televised on NFL Network, which the Broncos won by a final score of 26–6.[23]

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.


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.[24]

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators
July 26, 2014 Manchester United3–2 A.S. Roma2014 International Champions Cup54,116
June 19, 2019 Cuba0–3 Martinique2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup52,874
 Mexico3–1 Canada


Rugby league

The stadium hosted an international rugby league match between New Zealand and England on June 23, 2018.[25]

Date Winner Score Opponent League Competition Attendance
June 23, 2018 England36–18 New ZealandRugby League International FederationRugby Challenge19,320


The stadium has held several concerts.

Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Notes
August 11, 2001EaglesAn Evening With the Eagles54,217 / 54,217$4,837,465The first concert at the stadium.[26]
August 1, 2003MetallicaLimp Bizkit
Linkin Park
Summer Sanitarium Tour
September 25, 2003Bruce Springsteen & The E Street BandThe Rising Tour35,679 / 37,500$2,442,072
November 23, 2007Fall Out BoyGym Class Heroes
Plain White T's
Cute Is What We Aim For
Young Wild Things Tour
May 21, 2011U2The FrayU2 360° Tour77,918 / 77,918$6,663,410The show was originally to be held on June 12, 2010, but was postponed, due to Bono's emergency back surgery.
July 21, 2012Kenny Chesney
Tim McGraw
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Jake Owen
Brothers of the Sun Tour50,020 / 50,020$4,401,805
July 20, 2013Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Eli Young Band
Kacey Musgraves
No Shoes Nation Tour47,895 / 49,103$3,349,330
June 6, 2015Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line
Randy Houser
Thomas Rhett
Dustin Lynch
DJ Rock
Kick the Dust Up Tour50,539 / 50,539$3,642,005
August 8, 2015Kenny Chesney
Jason Aldean
Brantley Gilbert
Cole Swindell
Old Dominion
The Big Revival Tour
Burn It Down Tour
54,674 / 54,674$5,279,591
June 7, 2017MetallicaAvenged Sevenfold
WorldWired Tour51,955 / 57,027$6,299,803
August 2, 2017Guns N' RosesSturgill SimpsonNot in This Lifetime... Tour41,445 / 44,806$3,846,068
May 25, 2018Taylor SwiftCamila Cabello
Charli XCX
Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour57,140 / 57,140$7,926,366Swift became the first ever female to have a concert at the Stadium.
June 30, 2018Kenny ChesneyThomas Rhett
Old Dominion
Brandon Lay
Trip Around The Sun Tour51,553 / 53,983$4,442,006
August 4, 2018Luke BryanSam Hunt
Jon Pardi
Morgan Wallen
What Makes You Country Tour51,756 / 60,328$3,759,849
June 8, 2019Garth BrooksJoe NicholsThe Garth Brooks Stadium TourTBATBA
August 10, 2019The Rolling StonesNathaniel Rateliff & the Night SweatsNo Filter Tour58,846 / 58,846$13,494,183This concert was originally scheduled to take place on May 26, 2019 but was postponed due to Mick Jagger recovering from a heart procedure.[27]

Other notable events

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.

In August 1977, 1978 & 2004, it hosted the Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships, and every July hosts Drums Along the Rockies, which is a major competition in the annual DCI summer tour.[28][29]

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.[30][31][32]

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.

Inducted or Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame [33]
Denver Broncos Ring of Fame
No. Name Position(s) Seasons Inducted
23Goose GonsoulinS1960–661984
87Rich JacksonDE1967–721984
44Floyd LittleRB1967–751984
87Lionel TaylorWR1960–661984
Gerald PhippsOwner1961–811985
12Charley JohnsonQB1972–751986
70Paul SmithDE1968–781986
18Frank TripuckaQB1960–631986
36Billy ThompsonS1969–811987
7Craig MortonQB1977–821988
25Haven MosesWR1972–811988
15Jim TurnerPK1971–791988
53Randy GradisharLB1974–831989
57Tom JacksonLB1973–861992
20Louis WrightCB1975–861993
7John ElwayQB
General manager
77Karl MecklenburgLB1983–952001
49Dennis SmithS1981–942001
65Gary ZimmermanOT1993–972003
27Steve AtwaterS1989–982005
30Terrell DavisRB1995–20012007
84Shannon SharpeTE1990–99, 2002–032009
80Rod SmithWR1994–20062012
66Tom NalenC1994–20072013
21Gene MingoRB, K, RS1960–642014
Dan ReevesHead coach1981–922014
80Rick UpchurchWR, RS1975–832014
Pat BowlenOwner1984–present2015
1Jason ElamPK1993–20072016
73Simon FletcherLB/DE1985–952016
47John LynchS2004–072016
Red MillerHead coach1977–802017

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.[34]

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


  1. "Broncos Ditching Synthetic Field At Mile High, Using Kentucky Bluegrass Grown In Colorado". February 11, 2015.
  2. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. "Sports Authority Field at Mile High - CAA ICON". iconvenue.com.
  4. "Inside the Construction of Invesco Field at Mile High". SportsBusiness Journal. September 3, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  5. M-E Engineers, Inc. - Projects Archived May 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Stadium Elevation". Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  7. Murphy, Chuck (January 27, 2012). "Tax off books, but not registers". Denver Post. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. Caldwell, Gray (August 16, 2011). "A New Home". Denver Broncos. Archived from the original on September 8, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  10. DiLalla, Aric (January 2, 2018). "Broncos to remove Sports Authority signage from stadium in coming weeks". Denver Broncos. Archived from the original on January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  11. "Broncos agree to terms with Empower Retirement on 21-year deal to name stadium 'Empower Field at Mile High'". www.denverbroncos.com. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  12. Favre, Gregory E. (August 10, 2006). "A Mile High Controversy". Archived from the original on November 27, 2006. Retrieved September 25, 2006.
  13. Zellinger, Marhsall (May 31, 2016). "Denver Broncos awarded Mile High Stadium naming rights during Sports Authority bankruptcy case". The Denver Channel. Archived from the original on November 1, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  14. Bunch, Joey (August 23, 2016). "Bill would forever preserve "Mile High" in Broncos' stadium name". The Denver Post. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  15. Bunch, Joey (May 5, 2016). "Senate Republicans kill bill to retain "Mile High" in stadium's name". The Denver Post. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  16. "New Zealand to face England in international rugby league match in Denver this summer". Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  17. "FAQ". Denver Broncos. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  18. "11 secrets of Sports Authority Field @ Mile High". KMGH. January 13, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  19. "The New And Improved Mile High". Stadium Journey.
  20. Klis, Mike (December 21, 2012). "Broncos, Stadium District to spend $30 million on Mile High improvements". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  21. "Troy claims a secret lies beneath the 50 yard line... | The Rick Lewis Show | 103.5 The Fox". 103.5 The Fox. Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  22. "Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos - October 29th, 2007". Football Reference. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  23. "Broncos end four-game skid with win over Giants". The Augusta Chronicle. November 27, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  24. 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 Archived July 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine ICC.com July 26, 2014 Retrieved July 27, 2014
  25. Sevits, Kurt (February 27, 2018). "International rugby league match coming to Denver in June".
  26. Nielsen Business Media, Inc (August 25, 2001). "Amusement Business – Boxscore: Top 10 Concert Grosses". Billboard. New York. 113 (34): 14. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  27. Kaufman, Gil (May 16, 2019). "Rolling Stones Announce Rescheduled North American Tour Dates". Billboard. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  28. "Drum Corps International Past Champions and Locations".
  29. "Drums Along The Rockies". Ascend Performing Arts. August 13, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  30. "Obama Accepts Democrat Nomination". BBC News. BBC. August 29, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  31. Lloyd, Robert (August 29, 2008). "Barack Obama, Al Gore Raise the Roof at Invesco Field". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  32. Wangsness, Lisa (August 29, 2008). "Some Saw Spectacular, Others Just Spectacle". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  33. "Years - Hall of Famers - Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". www.profootballhof.com.
  34. Ringo, Kyle. "Kickoff: Birth of a Stadium". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on July 22, 2006. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
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
Gillette Stadium
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