Located in Denver, Mile High Stadium
served as the home to many great Bronco
teams and players for four memorable decades. Its history goes
back to 1948, when private funds were used to build a stadium for
the Denver Bears (baseball) and the local football team. A hill at
19th and Clay Street was selected as the site for the construction
of a ballpark. Built of
mainly bleachers it was originally known as Bears
Stadium. By the time Denver's football team became part of the
AFL, the 17,000 seat capacity of Bears Stadium was to small. In order
to satisfy the Broncos, the capacity of Bears Stadium was
increased to nearly 34,000 in 1960.
The Denver Broncos played their
first game at the stadium on October 2, 1960 against the Oakland
Raiders. Over its 40 year
history, Mile High Stadium underwent many additions. By the mid
1960s city leaders wanted to build a new football/baseball
stadium, but voters turned down a bond issue to build a new
stadium. However, a civic group raised $1.8 million to buy the
stadium. It presented the sports complex to the city in February
1968. Built in time for the start of the 1968 season, a
16,000-seat upper deck was constructed over the west stands, raising the
stadium's capacity to more than 50,000. After the 1968 season,
Bears Stadium was renamed Mile High Stadium. An expansion between
1975 and 1977 raised the seating capacity to over 75,000. It
featured an ingenious, 9 million-pound east stands that could be
moved back and forth on a track of water, retracted in for football
and retracted back for baseball. In 1986, luxury suites were added
atop the upper deck increasing the seating capacity to over 80,000.
After this addition, Mile
High Stadium was one of the largest stadiums in the NFL. Three
tiers of stands in a horseshoe shape made up Mile High Stadium.
The main scoreboard was located above one level of bleachers on
the south side of the stadium. Mile High Stadium was also one of
the loudest stadiums due to its steel grandstands.
Not only was Mile
High Stadium home to some great Denver Bronco teams and players throughout
its existence but was the home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team for two
seasons (1993 & 1994). The Rockies played for two seasons while their
current home, Coors Field, was constructed. Like nearly every other NFL
teams in the 1990s, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen wanted a new state of the art
stadium constructed that had additional luxury suites and club seats in
order to generate additional revenue. In 1998, voters approved a bond to build a new
stadium for the Broncos. Constructed adjacent to Mile High
Stadium, fans could watch as the new stadium rose. The Broncos
played their last game at Mile High Stadium on December 23, 2000.
The next year, the team moved into Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Mile High Stadium was demolished after the 2001 NFL season. It
now serves as a parking lot for the new stadium.