ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –When Broncos fans next walk into Sports Authority Field at Mile High, they will be greeted by an array of stadium enhancements.
The most noticeable will be the brand new, 220-foot-long scoreboard on the South end of the stadium that headlines the $30 million investment into enhancing in-game experience for fans.
"I know we have to do everything we can to make the in-stadium experience match that (of watching it on television)," Broncos President Joe Ellis said on Friday. "I think there are a lot of things that the in-stadium experience has that the home viewing experience does not have."
In addition to the new large scoreboard, the team has installed two video boards in the Northeast and Northwest corners and replaced the LED boards that wrap around the stadium. All of the new video boards will be high definition.
Televisions around the stadium are being updated to an internet-protocol television system designed to offer fans information regarding in-game statistics, out-of-town scores, fantasy football updates, weather forecasts and travel information.
All of the stadium upgrades are designed to help improve the in-game experience for fans, to help keep up with the constantly improving at-home experience with watching the game on television.
"We have to do is take advantage of down times and other things that are out there to give our fans optimum enjoyment," Ellis said. "From the time they get into their car, arrive at the parking lots, get into their seats, watch the game and then head home, that full experience has to be as good as it can be."
Along with the visual upgrades, the organization is installing a new audio system in response to complaints from fans about inconsistent volumes from week-to-week.
"We get multiple complaints and calls about, 'I couldn't hear him this week and he was too loud last week,' about the PA announcer or the referee," Ellis said. "We're trying to fix that with a brand-new system."
Ellis also announced that there would be a new RTA Light Rail station built on the South side of Sports Authority Field near parking lots M and N.
The new station is expected to help service up to 7,000 people, which Ellis said will help traffic and parking around the stadium.
With the renovations, Ellis expects Sports Authority Field to rate among the top NFL stadiums.
"I think we have a great building," he said. "Sight lines are great. It's a lot of people — 77,000 seats, actually, if you add them all up. So, to be able to provide every one of those people with a great experience is a tall order each and every week, but our building is very serviceable and very manageable to get around for people. I think we're very, very lucky to have it and to be able to play in it."
Construction at Dove Valley as Well
Just outside the door where Ellis met the press, construction crews were working on the practice fields at the team's Dove Valley facility.
A new heating system is being installed below the grass fields at the team's training complex.
In addition, the team has plans to build an indoor practice facility at Dove Valley – although a timeline for that project has not been announced.
Having an indoor facility on the property would make it easier for the team to move indoors for practice due to inclement weather or for competitive reasons.
If the Broncos were traveling to play a road game in a dome, the coaches might want to move a few practices indoors during the week.
"If we had one, we'd use it a lot more than people realize," Ellis said. "We have lightning strikes during training camp, we have situations where maybe it's better to practice indoors even though you could practice outdoors. That's something we are working on. We're looking at it. We've had some initial plans and I hope someday that comes to fruition because we do need that."