KUSA - When the Denver Broncos open their new practice facility in 2014, team officials hope it will influence players who they are trying to sign.
The Broncos had a ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday, and team president Joe Ellis and vice president John Elway said the new 115,000-square foot indoor facility will help attract players.
"It's always a positive when they come here and like it here and you have a nice facility," Elway said. "There's no question those are draws. I wouldn't say it's the only one, but can help us."
Ellis said it just shows that owner Pat Bowlen wants to continue to run the organization in a "first-class fashion."
"I think it adds value not just to his asset, but to attracting players and something about how we operate, how he operates, and that is important to him," Ellis said. "This building will be first-class."
He added when the Broncos were trying to sign Peyton Manning in March 2012, they put out the drawings of the proposed improvements.
"I said, 'Oh, let's put the renderings up for the indoor facilities,'" Ellis said, laughing. "Sure enough, Peyton notices everything. He said, 'When's that going to be ready?' So, it wasn't the ultimate, deciding factor, but I do think it makes an impression on players."
Ellis said the cost will be in the $30 million area, and it will be fully funded by the team. He said changes in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement with the players give owners better ability "to reinvest in their businesses." He said the team has been working on the plan for about seven to 10 years. In addition to the field house, the team also will make improvements to the current building.
During bad weather days, the Broncos have been using the South Suburban sports dome, which is down the street from Dove Valley. But that domed field is just 55 yards long.
"It's time for us to have our own. We are one of nine teams in the National Football League that does not have one - one of two cold-weather sites that does not have one," Ellis said.
There will be added benefits for the fans who go out to training camp in the summer. The overall plans include more parking and doubling the capacity of the grassy berm area where fans sit during training camp.
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