The Denver Broncos finished the season with a 5-12 record, but the Walton-Penner family ownership group — who bought the Denver Broncos in August — is already trying to set new standards for the franchise. The first step was to spend $400,000 to replace the grass pitch.
When the turf at Empower Field at Mile High showed signs of wear, Broncos CEO and owner Greg Penner called for brand new turf to be installed ahead of Denver’s last game of the regular season against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Greg and our owners were willing to make the significant investment in a new playing field for our final game of the season,” said Broncos president Damani Leech said NFL.com. “After our last home game and a perfect storm with significant activity combined with bad weather, the field just wasn’t up to our standards. Our field crew and stadium management had a window to put it in, we used it and they got it done.”
Denver — a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season — ended its 2022 season with a 31-28 win on brand new Arizona turf. The decision to refresh the field so late in the season was definitely a statement as the turf will likely be replaced again before the start of the 2023 season. It wasn’t a cheap gesture, but it already set the tone in terms of expectations for the franchise as they evolve.
“We appreciate that the Broncos’ ownership replaces our field — even for just one game — to give players a better, safer surface than the previous two games,” Broncos kicker and union rep Brandon McManus told NFL .com “It means a lot that Greg and the owners took action after the field failed to play or meet the standard.”
Fresh grass is hardly the only new improvement the Broncos will see at Empower Field at Mile High. In December, the franchise also announced it was planning a $100 million renovation — the largest in the history of the venue, which the Broncos have called home since 2001. These include improvements to the video boards, refurbished suites, premium hospitality areas and upgraded Wi-Fi system, as well as upgrades in concessions, team store and elevators. The project is expected to be completed by the start of the 2023 season.
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