DENVER — For the first time since 2019, Empower Field at Mile High welcomed back a full capacity crowd for a regular-season game.
Only a few thousand fans were allowed for some games last season, and bars and restaurants were mostly at limited capacity.
"We were literally no seating inside, just completely shut down," Roberto Munoz, a manager at Raices Brewing Company, recalled. "The energy was different, so we really drove through it, and I think we’re better because of it."
Raices is located just a block away from Mile High. Early Sunday afternoon, the pregame crowds began to fill in, a sight the team hadn't seen in some time.
"I call this experience a hurricane because you get a huge rush at the beginning--everyone tailgating, wanting to have some drinks, listen to some music, have some food, and then it quiets down," Munoz said. "Then after the game we get that last rush. So it's quite the experience. I mean, it’s amazing to have these great fans in here."
> Video: Fans celebrate return to full capacity Broncos games
Just down the road at Strange Craft Beer Company, Sunday's home opener was like a homecoming.
"Broncos Sundays are crazy. I have a ton of regulars that I only get to see for Bronco season," taproom manager Tyler Schilz said. "They get here early, they stay and they roll out about 1:50, and it's just kind of a controlled chaos, and everyone's hanging out having a good time."
Schilz told 9NEWS the busy Sunday is a welcome sight. The brewery opens an hour early on Sundays when the Broncos are at home.
"I think today is just something to look forward to, just kind of a nice pause from what we’ve been experiencing the last two years," Schilz said.
Jeff Herrera understood that sentiment. The die-hard Broncos fan has visited Strange Craft before every game he's attended over the last 10 years.
"This is a great day just to be here to get back to normal to some degree, and we couldn’t have been happier spending our pregame here at Strange," he said.
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