DENVER — The Denver Broncos 50-year sellout streak will come to an unofficial end next Monday.
The Broncos have "sold out" all games since 1970. That doesn't mean fans have always filled the 76,000-plus seats at both old and new Mile High Stadium, it just means every ticket was sold.
When the team hosts the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football, no fans will be allowed inside the stadium because of current coronavirus restrictions in Colorado. When the Broncos host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks later, however, there may be fans watching.
As Broncos Inside Mike Klis reported on Sunday, the Broncos are working with Gov. Jared Polis' office to have some fans in the seats.
The current limit for outdoor events is no more than 175 people, though organizations can apply for variances.
The state's COVID-19 website on outdoor events has a "social distancing calculator" to estimate how many people can be in an outdoor venue based on square footage.
The formula uses a 12-foot distance instead of six-foot social distancing to take into account the "unpredictable dynamics of each person's movement."
The calculator also comes with a note that it's to assist in planning. That's a fancy way of saying it's not an official number to use for occupancy limits. "The results given by this calculator do not relieve you of your obligation to follow all applicable Public Health Orders as they apply to your space," the website warns.
To get an estimate, the calculator requires the total square footage of the space. The calculator defaults to exclude 30% of the floor space to account for "furniture, equipment, displays, etc.," areas that couldn't be filled with people.
The square footage of the six-level stadium is 1.8 million square feet.
When you input 1.8 million into the calculator, with 30% excluded, you get 8,750 people.
If we were to drop the excluded area to zero percent, the estimate changes to 12,500 people. However, that's an overestimate since the 1.8 million square footage includes the field, concourse and other areas that fans won't be allowed to sit.
No one from the Broncos, the governor's office or the Colorado Department Public Health and Environment provided the professional sports plan for fans when Next with Kyle Clark requested it on Monday.
How can the Broncos prepare to have fans when Bandimere Speedway has fought for the same, and sued Jefferson County Public Health and the governor over capacity limits at the outdoor racing venue?
The answer appears to be permission.
The Broncos are going through the steps to get permission from the state.
Prior to Bandimere Speedway's July 4 event that exceeded 175 people, Jefferson County Public Health requested a variance from the state to allow outdoor venues to exceed 175 people. That variance request, and others throughout the state, were put on hold because of an increase in COVID-19 cases. The state's public health order sets the limit at 175. Counties and venues can request a variance to allow for more, but that requires permission to be granted.
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