DENVER —** Denver Broncos President & CEO Joe Ellis will be inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening during the 18th Annual Tourism Industry Hall of Fame Dinner at the Seawell Grand Ballroom in the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Additionally, the Denver Outlaws, owned by Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, will be presented with a Sports Tourism Star for making a significant impact on the tourism industry in 2016.
The Tourism Hall of Fame, which serves as the highest award for Denver's $5 billion travel industry, will honor some of the region's top leaders and innovators. The gala serves a fundraising event for the VISIT DENVER Foundation, which has awarded more than $842,000 in scholarships to 310 Colorado students pursuing higher education in the fields of tourism and hospitality.
Ellis will be honored as a 2017 inductee along with former Colorado Governor Roy Romer and restauranteur Holly Arnold Kinney. A special posthumous award will be presented in honor of frontier scout and showman William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
The Outlaws, who won the 2016 Major League Lacrosse Championship, are being presented with one of three Sports Tourism Stars for bringing worldwide attention to Denver in 2016. The NCAA Division II Championships Festival and the NHL Stadium Series at Coors Field also received Sports Tourism Stars for 2016.
Joe Ellis' Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Profile:
It would be impossible to overestimate the economic and publicity value of the Denver Broncos to Denver's tourism industry. The Broncos are the first thing mentioned in tourism word association tests about Denver. In 2014, the Broncos were recognized by a Harris poll as "America's Team"—the most popular football team in the U.S. More than 1.6 million fans watched the Broncos play in person in 2015, while hundreds of millions of people around the world watch them every season, being exposed to tourism images of Denver and Colorado. The publicity from the Super Bowl 50 victory alone was valued at $190 billion from 108,000 stories around the world.
Joe Ellis wrapped up his sixth season as President of the Denver Broncos in 2016 and his third year as Chief Executive Officer after adding those responsibilities in 2014. In all, Ellis has been with the Denver Broncos for 22 years, and with the NFL for 29 years. Having worked with Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen for nearly three decades, Ellis has been entrusted to operate the team with full authority, while also serving as the Broncos' representation for all league matters.
As one of the key individuals bridging the Broncos with the tourism and business interests of the city, Ellis served as chairman of VISIT DENVER and has been on numerous tourism committees. He oversaw the largest single event in Denver's history—the 2016 Broncos Super Bowl Victory Parade, which attracted 1 million people.
Under Ellis' direction, the Broncos finished the 2016 season positioned at or near the top of the NFL in numerous key areas of importance to tourism, including on-field success, local popularity, national prominence, attendance, philanthropic involvement and local television ratings. The Broncos enjoyed their 47th consecutive season of sellouts in 2016—the longest active streak in the NFL.
The club has made its gameday experience a priority under Ellis, embracing innovation and technology to improve fan engagement, satisfaction and safety. He worked to secure a $30 million investment at Sports Authority Field at Mile High that increased the size of its scoreboard by three times while enhancing all stadium audio/visual elements, suites and concourses. Ellis also oversaw more than $35 million in major expansions and renovations at the team's UCHealth Training Center headquarters in 2014.
The Broncos have won five AFC West Division titles in six seasons since Ellis was named team president in 2011. That successful run was highlighted by the team's third World Championship in its Super Bowl 50 win following the 2015 season.
For his work in helping make the Denver Broncos a symbol of the city and a professional organization that gladly works with the tourism industry to promote the Mile High City, Joe Ellis is inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.
Denver Outlaws' Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Profile:
In 2016, the Outlaws captured their second Major League Lacrosse Championship in three seasons (2014). Entering their 12th season of existence, the Outlaws have appeared in six championship games while leading the charge for an outdoor lacrosse market in the West. The Outlaws have led the league in attendance in 10-of-11 seasons of play, consistently averaging more than 9,000 fans per game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.