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Even with no fans for opener, Broncos home sellout streak continues — here's why

All available tickets were sold before virus shut down games. Consecutive game streak will pause, but not end. Sellout run to reach 51 years.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When it comes to sellout streaks, the key word is “sellout.”

The Denver Broncos have sold out every game for the past 50 years. Even with no fans, or a limited number of fans gathering at 76,125-seat Empower Field at Mile High, the Broncos’ sellout streak will continue to 51 years in 2020.

“We’ve looked at the sellout streak as being possible games played,’’ said Patrick Smyth, the Broncos’ chief communications officer. “With the focus on health and safety and attendance restrictions for now, this is obviously an extraordinary circumstance beyond anyone’s control.

“In no way does it take away from the sellout streak and the unprecedented loyalty our fans have shown over the last five decades. When the time is right, and when it’s safe, we can’t wait to welcome everyone back and play in front of the best fans in the NFL and a sold out Empower Field at Mile High.”

While there won’t be fans in the stands (other than a few hundred family and friends of Broncos players and coaches) for the Broncos season opener Monday night against the Tennessee Titans, there were no tickets were available to sell.

There were -- and all available seats were sold. But the threat of the COVID virus caused Governor Polis and the Broncos to not allow fans to attend the first game against the Titans.

Polis and the Broncos announced Tuesday they will allow 5,700 fans to attend the team’s second home game, Sunday, Sept. 27, against Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

9NEWS will live stream the news conference on 9NEWS.com here, on 9NEWS streaming devices, on the 9NEWS YouTube page and on the 9NEWS app. 

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The plan is to gradually increase the crowds for each subsequent game. The Broncos have 8 home games, so the plan is to have fans at the final 7.

In essence, capacity for the Titans’ game is zero. There will be a few hundred family and friends attending the game to help test out the stadium’s safety protocols. So a wise guy could say the Broncos would have an overflow crowd of 200 to 500 at Empower Field at Mile High.

The Broncos sold out their allotment of season tickets – and have a long waiting list – for 2020. Because of the virus, the team gave their season-ticket holders three options:

  • Opt out of attending games and receive a full refund.
  • Opt out and receive payment credit towards the 2021 season.
  • Keep their tickets and attend as many games as become available, while receive credit or a refund for games that are not available such as the opener against the Titans.

Its unclear whether the Broncos’ consecutive streak in terms of games — currently at at 411 — will pause or continue with the Titans' game. It will not end. Again, the game is sold out. It is known the sellout games' streak will continue even with 5,700 fans attending the Broncos-Bucs games providing all 5,700 available tickets are sold. Which will be the case. In fact, the Broncos' problem for that game figures to be having more season-ticket holders that want to attend that game than the team or Governor will allow in.

During the strike season of 1987, the Broncos announced crowd for their first home replacement player game that season was 38,494, far less than old Mile High Stadium's capacity of 76,272. But the game was sold out and the streak continued. The Broncos drew more than 61,230 fans to their second replacement game against the Raiders on a Monday night. Because, you know, Bronco fans can't stay away.

“The loyalty and enthusiasm our fans have shown this year – despite all the uncertainty and challenges – has been remarkable,’’ Smyth said. “Even in the COVID-19 window, the Broncos were among the league leaders in season-ticket renewals for a 51st consecutive year of sellouts.’’

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