Colorado high school football state championships unlikely to be played at Empower Field this season – The Denver Post

Nothing about this fall’s high school football season has been normal.

It appears that theme may continue all the way to the very end, with all signs pointing to the Class 4A and 5A title games not being played at Empower Field at Mile High this December.

The biggest obstacle standing in the way: Attendance for Broncos’ home games is currently capped at 5,700 fans (7.49% capacity) by health authorities, which is roughly half of the 11,500 the event typically draws each year.

That’s a large gap for the presenter, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, to account for financially, especially since current guidelines require those 5,700 fans to be spread out across all four levels of the Broncos’ home stadium.

And it’s one of the many reasons Tom Lawrence, the man in charge of the non-profit, says he’s “99 percent sure” the games won’t be played at the stadium that has called them home since 2005.

“In a normal year, with a ticket price of 15 dollars, we need 9,000 paid attendants just to break even to cover all of our costs — the costs we pay the Broncos, the costs we pay CHSAA and everybody else who is connected,” Lawrence said.

Last year, 12,789 attended the 5A (Cherry Creek vs. Columbine) and 4A (Pine Creek vs. Broomfield) title games, but those spectators were limited to the lower bowl. If fans were required to spread out across all four levels, that would necessitate more staff to service a smaller crowd.

“There’s no way we could do that,” Lawrence said. “At this point, I don’t know what CHSAA is going to do to host those championship games.”

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Colorado High School Activities Association assistant commissioner Adam Bright, who oversees football, acknowledged the event “may have to be moved somewhere else,” if those parameters are still in place when the games are scheduled Dec. 5.

Bright said there’s been some discussion about other possible venues should the games need to be moved. He declined to disclose which sites have been discussed, but he said local health ordinances would play a major role in the selection.

“We’ve got a couple of different things going,” Bright said. “I’ve got Plan A through Plan M, N and O right now. … I have a backup plan for the backup plan.”