DENVER — When the Broncos return to Empower Field at Mile High for a Week 3 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they'll be greeted by cheers from members of Broncos Country.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Broncos Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Brittany Bowlen announced Tuesday that an estimated 5,700 fans would be permitted at the Broncos' Week 3 game, and they're hopeful that more fans will be able to attend in future weeks.
"As everybody in our state knows, normal in the fall means a very important thing: It means football," Polis said. "It means the Denver Broncos. And Colorado is orange nation and I know everyone including myself and my family is of course very eager to get back to football Sundays. We all know it's just not the same if they're planning to an empty stadium. I'm thrilled to announce today that the Denver Broncos' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 27 will allow a limited number of fans to attend. This step is really possible because of the commitment and dedication of the Broncos' organization — [I'm] joined by Brittany Bowlen today — really to go above and beyond at putting together a safe experience for fans. It values the team spirit and values the health of those who attend."
Bowlen and Polis outlined steps the Broncos have taken to help fans return in a safe manner to Empower Field at Mile High, including how a game day will operate as "a series of distinct gatherings of 175 people," Polis said.
Bowlen said the team's plan was developed over a span of more than three months — and Polis celebrated the Broncos' commitment to finding a safe method to welcome back fans.
"The way the Broncos are doing it is really first-class, like everything about the organization," Polis said of the Broncos' plan to welcome back fans. "I want to applaud the Broncos for really leading the way and putting together a cohesive thoughtful approach to making sure that fans are reasonably safe."
That effort, as Polis mentioned on several occasions Tuesday, was led by Bowlen.
"Thank you, Brittany, for your tremendous leadership in bringing in-person fans back to Colorado football and the Denver Broncos," Polis said. "… [We're] so proud of our Denver Broncos, and we're really thrilled that you're going to help have over 5,000 Coloradans cheering you on in our second [home] game. … I want to thank you. We're here for you as a state, whether we're cheering for you on our TV sets with nachos in front of us or we're at the game or listening on the radio, we are all orange nation and we're just so proud that you have helped lead the way and you're helping more than 5,000 Coloradans attend your game against Tampa."
To read more of Bowlen's comments from the press conference at the Governor's Mansion, please read on.
On the Broncos' collaboration with state and local officials to host a limited number of fans for their Week 3 game:
"Thank you, Governor Polis," Bowlen said. "On behalf of the Broncos' organization, we appreciate your leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the very beginning, we have worked in partnership and I am grateful for that continued collaboration. We're also thankful for the tremendous resources by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Thank you, Sarah [Tuneberg], for being here with us today. It's been a team effort to fight against the spread of COVID-19, both at UCHealth Training Center and at Empower Field at Mile High. In particular, the players have continued to use their platform to set the right example for our community. Today's announcement, though, would not be possible without the safety [precautions] and hard work that our entire community has put into place. Our organization thanks the community for playing by the rules and making health and safety a top priority in their lives. Fans are a big part of our team. They bring our entire building to life. That's why we're excited to welcome back a limited number of season-ticket members starting Sept. 27 with many health and safety enhancements in place. As Governor Polis said, we are not back to normal. Empower Field at Mile High will look and feel very different this year. In addition to mask and social distancing requirements, seating will be done in small pods, and sections will be broken into groups. .... Our organization is hopeful that this is the start to gradually increasing fans at Broncos games this season, but we understand that that takes the entire community, both on game days and in our daily lives doing our part. Our organization remains committed to partnering with Governor Polis and the state to help the spread of COVID-19."
On how the Broncos will continue to lead the Denver community in its fight against COVID-19:
"The players have continued to use their platform to push messaging that's appropriate related to the spread of COVID-19," Bowlen said, "and we'll continue to work with our counterparts at the NFL as well as our staff and our players and our coaches to really set the best example for our community."
On what the game-day experience will look like at Empower Field at Mile High:
"There will be face mask requirements as well as social distancing," Bowlen said. "Seating will be done in pods from one to six [people], and those pods will be separated by six feet. And then sections will be separated as well, and you'll be encouraged to use restrooms and concessions closest to their seating location. Our concessions and restrooms will now be touchless and cashless."
On how season-ticket members will be chosen to attend the team's Week 3 game:
"Season-ticket members will be entered into a lottery," Bowlen said. "It will be weighted by their priority number. They will receive a time slot where they can go onto Ticketmaster and purchase tickets. If they choose not to purchase tickets, there's nothing they need to do at this time. It will move on to the next season-ticket member in the queue. Details will be shared with season ticket members as well as on our social and digital channels and our own website."
On the Broncos' efforts to combat social injustices:
"Internally at the Broncos' organization, we've done a lot of listening and learning over the last couple of months," Bowlen said. "We will do everything to support our players during this activism. We believe that there needs to be tangible progress, and we are ready to be part of that. In the next week or so, you will see us roll out a program that supports the players, our staff and being part of that movement, both in the community and within our organization."