Screen technology at Empower Field shows its age compared to other NFL stadiums
DENVER (KDVR) – Although the Broncos have made sporadic improvements to different parts of their stadium over the years, the 20-year-old stadium is showing its age compared to other team stadium reconstructions and new technology screen.
Cashless payments, standalone stand-alone checkouts, and other contactless ways to participate in the fun of a day of play are just some of the enhancements Empower Field has brought to Mile High in recent years.
FOX31 wanted to dig to find out more about the latest technology and what kind of investment it would represent.
Football is all about competition, but it doesn’t stop with scoring; The look and feel of the stadium can also make even the most loyal fans look over their shoulders at other team venues.
Will Ellerbruch is the sales manager for Daktronics. It is a South Dakota company that manufactures large video screens often used for sports venues. He’s an expert in stadium technology.
âWe’re trying to build them for a 10-year lifespan, but you’ve got a lot of people like ooh, I wanna take it a step further,â Ellerbruch said of a big screen usually referred to as Jumbotron. âIt really adds the improvement to the fan, because it’s something unique – you’re not going to see that at home; You’re going to come down into this stadium and say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool. I want to come back and watch a game.
The company even built the Denver Broncos’ “Thundervision” in 2013, but the screen is approaching that 10-year expiration date.
Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said:
We regularly invest significant resources to make Empower Field at Mile High one of the best stadiums in all sports and entertainment. This includes a $ 30 million upgrade in 2013 and more recently a significant investment in tech / Wi-Fi to make it one of the most mobile-friendly sites in the world. We are also in the process of modernizing our premium spaces, including the club level and suites.
We remain committed to ensuring that Empower Field at Mile High remains one of the best venues for sports and entertainment and have planned this investment accordingly. We enjoyed hosting a FIFA group at Empower Field at Mile High in October and are proud to be a candidate host venue for the 2026 World Cup.
Denver Broncos spokesperson
The price range is very wide. You might expect to pay $ 100,000 for a video board that fits a high school gymnasium or high school football stadium. Something like the 360 ââhalo screen and every other screen in the Atlanta Falcons stadium was a roughly $ 30 million project.
Ellerbruch estimates an investment of $ 5-6 million for an average video system today.
An exceptional stadium, however, requires a little forethought.
“How do I build my screen and is it going to last as technology upgrades in the TV or movie world start to create better videos?” Said Ellerbruch. “We then try to look into the crystal ball and go, that’s what this stadium would like to have.”
Some of the latest teams to move into the future are the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons.
The Atlanta Falcons halo screen is a recent addition. It’s a 360 degree screen that allows fans to see the screen from just about any seat.
Daktronics build screens using 1 foot x 1 foot panels that they use as building blocks to create a screen of any shape.
The dome stadium has a roof that opens and closes throughout the season.
âIt was unique, but [there was] design the board to hang on a roof that moves in and out. So there was a lot of engineering to build not only the roof structure but also the video card to hang on. Then when that building moves, the video card moves, so we didn’t want our card to crash while it expands and contracts when the roof moves. So there was a lot of engineering to make something like that happen, âEllerbruch said.
Of 32 NFL teams, how old is Mile High compared to other stadiums?
Let’s take a look at the Packers’ Lambeau field, which opened in 1957; Kansas City Chiefs’ home territory first played in 1972, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers home stadium first played back supporters in 1998.
Read the video timeline below to see stadiums older than the Broncos’ field.
This makes Mile High one of the 12 oldest stadiums in the NFL. which means 62% of NFL teams have newer stadiums than the Broncos.
Broncos spokeswoman Megan Boyle sent out a long list of improvements to the overall fan experience the team has made to the stadium over the past 20 years.
Empower Field at Mile High Stadium Improvements
- More than 700 disinfection stations installed
- Improved air filtration system that flushes occupied spaces with outside air
- State-of-the-art portable cleaning systems with UV illumination for escalators and frequently touched surfaces
- New Verizon DAS System for Improved Cellular Coverage and Improved Wi-Fi for All Guests at Empower Field at Mile High
- Empower Field at Mile High has the most self-sufficient checkout points (9) of any sports stadium in the world. These beverage markets not only increase the speed of service, but also increase the variety of beverage options.
- Hands-free toilet facilities installed in each toilet (i.e. towel and soap dispensers, faucets, toilets, etc.)
- Concession upgrades including Downtown Mile High, a new dining concept that brings Denver favorites inside the stadium (Cherry Cricket, Tacos * Tequila * Whiskey, Osteria Marco, and Breckenridge Bourbon bar). This space provides a sit-down dining experience for fans. Additionally, Top Taco, Tenders Love and Chicken, Bonanno Concepts, GQUE Championship BBQ, the Bud Light Perfect Pour beer system – a new point-of-sale system – and many other improvements have been made in recent years.
- In 2021, exterior signage has been improved and Gate 4 has been enlarged to allow fans to easily enter / exit the stadium
- Replacing old sports lights with new LED sports lights, giving Empower Field at Mile High one of the best field lights in the NFL
- Mile High Monument added to improve match days and non-match days around the stadium
- Replacement of the 300 level seats
- Upgraded bathrooms and furnishings in United Clubs
- The Broncos locker room will be renovated after the end of this season
- Major improvements to life safety and building operations are made every year, including fire alarm system, CO2 system, CCTV system, expansion joints, indoor metal detectors
- Ring of Fame modified to allow future growth
Why are screens so important? Ellerbruch said to follow these days it’s a must.
âPeople are so used to having a video experience in their homes and in their pockets that they need it almost everywhere they go. Video cards are therefore almost becoming a requirement, âsaid Ellerbruch.
It looks like the current Empower Feild setup we have now is going to run a few more miles under their belt, at least for the foreseeable future.
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