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'It has been a sprint': Broncos display record $100 million in upgrades to Empower Field at Mile High ahead of 2023 season

DENVER —When the Broncos first spoke to architects and contractors about the proposed upgrades to Empower Field at Mile High, they were told the desired changes would take longer than the course of an offseason.

"'This is really a two-year process,'" Broncos President Damani Leech remembered them saying.

And yet, the Broncos and the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group were determined to complete a record $100 million in upgrades before the start of the 2023 season — and on Friday, Leech helped display the enhancements that were indeed completed in just a few short months.

"It has been a sprint," Leech said.

Ahead of the Broncos' preseason home opener against the Rams at Empower Field at Mile High, Leech joined Stadium General Manager Jay Roberts, Senior Director of Facilities, Construction and Planning Zach Myhra and several others to display the far-reaching upgrades to Denver's home stadium.

Leech called the upgrades a "testament to the commitment" of Owners Rob Walton and Carrie Walton Penner, Owner & CEO Greg Penner and the rest of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group.

"As Greg shared, really from Day 1, his priority and the priority of our ownership group has been to upgrade our stadium here and do it in a way that's going to provide a meaningful fan and game-day experience for all of Broncos Country," Leech said.

Leech said it was important to enhance the game-day experience in a number of ways, and the Broncos displayed drastic improvements to the videoboard, suites, team store and other spaces during Friday's media tour. The Broncos also showed off the brand-new Breckenridge Bourbon Club, the in-progress murals that are being painted by local artists in the concourse of the stadium and the new elevators that were added to improve accessibility.

"Obviously, we had an overall vision of wanting to enhance the game-day experience, and there's different ways you can do that," Leech said. "Some are ways that operational, and that's with things like the elevators. Some are very much visual, from an entertainment standpoint. Obviously that's the videoboard, but that's [also] LED screens. Some are about hospitality, so you see that on the suite level, you see that in the Breckenridge Bourbon Club. So we created a framework and really wanted to check as many boxes [as possible].

"What was really important is we wanted every fan who comes to the stadium on game day to be able to experience something. They may not be able to experience everything, but they can experience something that's new and different."

Broncos fans will get their first chance to see the upgrades on Saturday, as Denver hosts its preseason finale against the Rams. And from the massive new videoboard to the impressive team store, there will be something for everyone to experience.

"You really understand the responsibility we have to provide a great experience to our fans," Leech said. "We understand the competitive marketplace we're in. We're competing against couches and flatscreen TVs in people's basements.

"We knew we had to make a meaningful impact, and I think we did."

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