Fans waiting to cheer the Broncos Nation roar this season, perhaps because they have no passion left for Vic Fangio, were treated instead to the sound of silence as Opening Day fell to a record-low attendance.
At the Broncos’ new $564-million, 65,000-seat stadium, fans were either too happy to cheer or too bored to do anything about it. And that’s fine. But if longtime fans have lost interest, there are plenty of reasons to hope that GM John Elway will find a way to open up the season with talent, filled with quality football players, that excites them.
The fan who waited in line for the cheapest seat available? He left six minutes into the game. He wants better than a franchise that didn’t sign a single player worth a first-round draft pick. He wants a team that doesn’t knockoffs his seat into the fourth row.
Worse yet, as The Denver Post’s Troy E. Renck posted in a column about the passing of Broncos Country, is that no matter what team wins the national championship, the feeling of community will be broken, with the ravens growing ever more irrelevant.
“For what it’s worth,” Renck wrote, “Broncos Country has gotten what it has been promised. No, that’s not saying much.”
So, Monday night, the Broncos United was kind of like Sunday School on a Utah summer evening. Yes, the kids seemed earnest, but instead of magical tales of wonderland adventures, the best they had to offer was $2 hot dogs and a conspiracy theory about Peyton Manning’s grocery shopping habits.
So while we wait to see if Keenum looks like an NFL player during his first training camp in Denver, here’s a look at the stadium numbers that indicated an apathy exists about football in the Rocky Mountain State:
• The age of fans within the 58,000 or so seats with obstructed views is 12 years younger than the national average.
• 63% of the seats within the 64,000-seat stadium have been filled with people in season or group seating.
• Ninety-five percent of the tickets with prime viewing locations for the game against the Chargers were filled with season or group tickets.
• 75% of the seats at the Broncos’ home opener were sold out in advance, and a resale ticket made $390 less than the $384 face value.
• More than half of the seats were empty during the first quarter. The parking lot empties, too.
• Less than half of the packages sold were for single-game tickets.
• Fewer than 40% of the 40,000 parking passes were sold at regular price.
How depressing. Why isn’t Denver a must-buy in the NFL? There is a lot for the old and the diehard to be thankful for in Colorado.
Major League Soccer on Sunday became the first soccer team to sell out its regular-season opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of the Colorado Rapids. The home opener for the Rapids on the opening weekend of the MLS season may have set a attendance record at Rapids Stadium. But that’s not much solace in a city where sports as a cultural experience is broken and the traditional reasons to root for our team, or simply to support the season tickets we never bothered to buy, have been shattered.
In Boulder, at the Pepsi Center, free concert tickets get emailed to me, informing me of the concerts or festivals I may be interested in attending. There are no tickets for the outdoor concerts held on the court at the Denver Coliseum. There are no tickets on sale at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. There are no single-game tickets on sale at the McNichols Sports Arena.
Outside of Lingerie Football League and “Lolita” porn promotions, there’s no reason for a local festival to come to the Denver area. In past decades, the 10-day Taste of Denver would fill the streets downtown. It can’t. It could. What’s good for the Broncos, good for the fans and good for the city should be easy.
One last thing: I asked people to describe their favorite Rockies ballpark. Of the 174 comments, 19 had nothing to do with baseball. The more unusual responses: Rabbit Ears, Stanley Park, Bedlam Stadium, Reno and Blake. There were a few plenty of times, too, when the Broncos Nation line was more than a little laughably unaware.
One final point: The surprise about Denver’s