What’s Mile High Stadium?

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Mile High Stadium was a sports arena in Denver, Colorado, home to the Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Colorado Rapids, Denver Gold, and Denver Zephyrs. Its name came from Denver’s high elevation, which gave home teams an advantage. The stadium was built in 1948 as a minor league baseball venue and was expanded over the years to accommodate more fans. It was demolished in 2002 after the Rockies and Broncos moved to new stadiums.

Mile High Stadium was a sports arena in Denver, Colorado that was in professional use from 1948 to 2001. Specifically the former home of the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball and the Denver Broncos of the National Football League, the Mile High Stadium was known as Bears Stadium until 1968 because it was the home of the Denver Bears, a minor league baseball team. It was also home to the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer of Major League Soccer, the Denver Gold of the United States Football League, and the Denver Zephyrs of minor league baseball. Denver’s high elevation – 1 mile (1.6 m) above sea level – gave the stadium its name and led to what was considered home field advantage.

The early years

The stadium was built by Denver native Bob Howsam into a minor league baseball venue. It initially featured a 17,000-seat grandstand. In the 1950s, Bears Stadium’s capacity was increased to approximately 23,000 seats, then nearly 35,000 seats to accommodate a proposed Major League Baseball team. Mile High Stadium became home to its first football team in 1960 when the Denver Broncos joined the American Football League, which later merged with the National Football League.

In 1968, an upper deck was added to the stadium and it was sold to the city of Denver, which renamed it Mile High Stadium. With the addition of these extra seats, the capacity has been increased to approximately 50,000. Further expansion, including a third bridge, brought capacity to about 63,000 in 1974 and about 75,000 in 1977.

Retractable grandstands along the east side of Mile High Stadium allowed it to be converted from a football field to a baseball field. The eastern stands could be included to form a horseshoe for football games or removed to open the field for a baseball game. With the addition of luxury suites in the 1980s and the Colorado Rockies in 1993, Mile High Stadium thrived for a couple of years.

The last years
The Rockies, however, moved to Coors Field in 1995. The Broncos and Rapids moved to Invesco Field in 2001. Mile High Stadium was demolished in 2002. The process took three months and was completed on April 17, 2002.
Effects of altitude
Denver’s elevation was commonly believed to give home teams an advantage at Mile High Stadium. The bodies of players who regularly train and play at high altitudes get used to the reduced oxygen content of the air. Visiting players, however, often find it harder to breathe at higher altitudes. Also, the lighter air at high altitudes allows balls to travel slightly farther in the air, a factor that home teams can more easily adjust to because they are used to the conditions. They can also build their teams to take advantage of high altitude, like a baseball team acquiring more power hitters to take advantage of the fact that it’s a little easier to hit home runs.

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