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Denver Sports

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The city of Denver, Colorado, and the wider Denver metropolitan area is home to many sports teams.

Table

The following table shows sports teams in the Denver metropolitan area that average more than 12,000 fans per game:

ClubSportLeagueVenueCapacityAttendanceTitlesSince
Denver BroncosFootballNFLEmpower Field at Mile High76,16976,9393 (1997, 1998, 2015)1960
Colorado BuffaloesFootballNCAA D1Folsom Field (Boulder)53,60037,7781 (1990)1890
Colorado RockiesBaseballMLBCoors Field50,39831,33401993
Colorado AvalancheIce hockeyNHLPepsi Center18,00716,1762 (1996, 2001)1995
Colorado RapidsSoccerMLSDick’s Sporting Goods Park18,06115,6571 (2010)1996
Denver NuggetsBasketballNBAPepsi Center19,11514,70001967
Colorado MammothLacrosseNLLPepsi Center18,00712,8151 (2006)2003

Major league professional teams



Denver is the smallest of the 13 U.S. cities with teams from four major sports.

The Denver Broncos of the National Football League have drawn crowds of over 70,000 since their AFL origins in the early 1960s at Mile High Stadium and continue to draw fans today to their current home Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos have sold out every home game (except for strike-replacement games) since 1970. The Broncos last championship was in 2016, defeating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. In total, the Broncos have advanced to the Super Bowl eight times and won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999, and again in 2015.

In the 1980s and 90s, one of the top priorities of former Mayor Federico Peña was bringing Major League Baseball to the city. In 1993, the MLB awarded an expansion team to Denver and they were named the Colorado Rockies. Mile High Stadium was home to the Rockies from 1993 to 1995 while Coors Field was under construction. They appeared in their first World Series in 2007 after winning the championship of the National League, where they were swept by the Boston Red Sox of the American League in four games.

The Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) play at the Pepsi Center. The team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA) but changed its name to the Denver Rockets before the first season. They changed its name to the Denver Nuggets in 1974.

The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA-NBA merger. It has not made an appearance in an NBA Finals since joining the NBA.

Denver is home to the Colorado Avalanche, a National Hockey League (NHL) team that relocated from Quebec City in 1995. They have won two Stanley Cups in 1996 and in 2001 while playing in Denver, and they also play at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche played the Detroit Red Wings in the first ever outdoor professional hockey game in Denver on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at Coors Field.

The Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, a soccer-specific stadium in the Denver suburb of Commerce City. The Rapids were one of the ten founding teams of Major League Soccer that began play in 1996, and initially played at what was then known as Invesco Field at Mile High before moving into their current home in 2007. The Rapids won the MLS Cup in 2010. The Rapids’ main rival is the Real Salt Lake, and the two teams play every year for the Rocky Mountain Cup. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park has also hosted several international soccer matches, including U.S. national team qualifying matches for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Other professional teams

TeamLeagueVenue
Colorado MammothNational Lacrosse LeaguePepsi Center
Colorado RaptorsMajor League RugbyInfinity Park
Denver OutlawsMajor League LacrosseEmpower Field at Mile High

Notes:

  • The Mammoth won the 2006 NLL Championship.
  • The Outlaws won the 2014 MLL Championship.
  • The Colorado Raptors were founded in 2006. They are the 2015 PRP Champions as well as the 2011 USA Rugby Division 1 Club Champions. The Women’s Glendale Raptors compete in the Women’s Premier League and are the 2014 and 2015 Champions.[3]

Furniture Row Racing is a NASCAR team and fields the #78 Chevrolet SS for Martin Truex, Jr. The team is owned and sponsored by the U.S. furniture store chain Furniture Row, and is the only NASCAR team headquartered in Colorado.

College sports teams

  • Colorado Buffaloes: The CU Buffaloes are a member of the Pac-12 Conference and are located in Boulder.
  • Denver Pioneers: The DU Pioneers, located in the city of Denver, play in NCAA Division I and are a member of The Summit League. In sports not sponsored by that conference, it is a member of several other conferences; most notably, the men’s ice hockey team plays in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the women’s gymnastics team in the Big 12 Conference, and the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams in the Big East Conference.
  • Metro State Roadrunners: The Metro State Roadrunners play in NCAA Division II and are a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and are located in Denver.
  • Regis Rangers: The Regis Rangers play in NCAA Division II and are a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and are located in Denver.

Amateur club teams

TeamLeagueVenue
Denver BarbariansPacific Rugby PremiershipInfinity Park
Denver DynamitePremier Arena Soccer LeagueMiller Activities Center
Denver BulldogsU.S. Australian Football LeagueVeterans Park

Notes:

  • The Denver Barbarians were founded in 1967. One of the original Rugby Super League teams, they won the RSL Championship in 1999. The RSL folded in 2012.
  • The Denver Bulldogs have won seven USAFL National Championships.

Event hosting

  • Denver co-hosted the 1962 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships (together with Colorado Springs).
  • Initially awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics. However, due to rising costs and worries about environmental impact, voters rejected a public-funding ballot measure. Without the bond, Denver could not support the games, and the IOC retracted the award.
  • Denver hosted the ABA All-Star Game in 1976 and the 1984 NBA All-Star Game at McNichols Arena.
  • Denver also hosted the 1990 NCAA Final Four at McNichols Arena.
  • The Ultimate Fighting Championship, which eventually become the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization, held its first two events in Denver—UFC 1 on November 12, 1993 and UFC 2 on March 11, 1994.
  • The 1998 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field.
  • The 2001 NHL All-Star Game and FanFest at Pepsi Center.
  • 2005 NBA All-Star Game at Pepsi Center.
  • The 2008 NCAA Frozen Four Tournament was hosted in Denver.
  • Denver hosted a yearly auto race on the Champ Car World Series circuit, the Grand Prix of Denver, before that series’ demise in 2008.
  • The Colorado Colfax Marathon is run through the city annually.
  • The Churchill Cup, a now-defunct annual international competition in rugby union featuring the USA and Canada senior national teams, the England Saxons (that country’s second-level national team), and three invited teams, was hosted by Denver in 2009, with matches held at the rugby-specific Infinity Park in Glendale and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Denver was suggested as a permanent home for the competition. The 2010 tournament featured preliminary rounds in Denver. Also, Denver was reportedly in the running to host a Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia and New Zealand national teams, possibly in 2010, though that did not materialize.
  • Denver was the host for Sportaccord 2009, the largest international sports convention in the world.
  • Infinity Park became the new host of the USA Women’s Sevens, the country’s stop in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series for national rugby sevens teams, in 2018.
  • The city strongly considered a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. In December 2011 a Denver 2022 exploratory committee was launched.[4] Reno-Tahoe was also interested in bidding for 2022.

Detailed information by team

ClubLeagueVenueChampionshipSince
DivisionConferenceLeague
Denver BroncosAFL (1960–1969)

NFL (1970–present)

Mile High Stadium (1960–2000)

Empower Field at Mile High (2001–present)

AFL 0

NFL 15

AFL 0

NFL 8

AFL 0

NFL 3

1960
Denver NuggetsABA (1967–1976)

NBA (1976–present)

Denver Coliseum (1967–1975)

McNichols Sports Arena (1975–1999)

Pepsi Center (1999–present)

ABA 3

NBA 7

ABA 1

NBA 0

ABA 0

NBA 0

1967
Colorado RockiesMLB (NL)Mile High Stadium (1993–1994)

Coors Field (1995–present)

0N/A01993
Colorado AvalancheNHLMcNichols Sports Arena (1995–1999)

Pepsi Center (1999–present)

8221995
Colorado RapidsMLSMile High Stadium (1996–2001)

Invesco Field at Mile High (2002–2006)

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (2007–present)

0211996
Denver DynamitePASL-Pro (2008-2010)

PASL-Premier

Denver Sports Center (2008–2010)

Westridge Recreation Center (2010–2011)

Apex Field House (2012–present)

0002008
Colorado MammothNLLPepsi Center(2003–present)3112003
Denver OutlawsMLLEmpower Field at Mile High (2006–present)3312006
Denver PioneersNCAA Division IUniversity of Denver Arena (1948–1998)

Magness Arena
(1999–present)

Hockey 9Hockey
Tournament
Championship 13

Final Frozen Four 14

29 NCAA
Championships
total

Hockey 7
Men’s lacrosse 1
Skiing 21

Glendale Merlins (Glendale Raptors, 2007–2017)Pacific Rugby PremiershipInfinity Park (2007–present)Men’s Team 1

Women’s Team 2

2007
Glendale Raptors (2018–present)MLRInfinity Park (2018–present)2018
Denver BulldogsUSAFLVeterans Park (1999–present)Men’s Team 7

Women’s Team 4

1999

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