DENVER — Ball Arena has received capacity variance approval to host fans for both Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets games starting in early April.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) made the announcement Thursday morning, noting that the venue can accommodate up to 4,050 fans per hockey and basketball game, which equates to about 22% of the venue's capacity, starting on April 2.
KSE Chairman and Owner Stan Kroenke said they are thrilled they can — for the first time — welcome fans to the newly named Ball Arena.
“We are grateful to local, state and national health authorities who collaborated with us to get to this point," Kroenke said. "We also would like to thank our partners at the NHL and NBA, who have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe return for our fans. This is a major first step in our quest to have a fully packed arena again with some of the greatest fans in sports.”
KSE worked alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State of Colorado, CDPHE, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, and the City and County of Denver to gain capacity variance approval and to put forth health and safety measures.
“The health, safety and wellness of our fans, staff, athletes and frontline workers remain the most critical priorities for our organization,” Kroenke said. “We will continue to work with health authorities and the leadership at the NBA and NHL to safely monitor ongoing public health matters. We’ll be prepared to adapt accordingly to their ongoing recommendations.”
KSE also announced that frontline staff, health care providers and first responders are welcome to the Nuggets game on March 30 and Avalanche game on March 31. Both games are closed to ticketed fans.
“We are indebted to the immeasurable dedication of frontline workers throughout the pandemic to keep our community safe,” said Kroenke. “We look forward to hosting several of them and honoring their heroic efforts during our first games back with fans.”
Matt Bell, the vice president of venue booking for Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, said there will be ticketed groups who have to keep proper physical distance at games. Everyone will have to wear a mask for the rest of the season and will have to complete a health screening before games.
“It’s a huge deal, I think. It’s been over a year since we’ve hosted a game with fans at the arena, and I think that sports and entertainment are the fabric of the community in a lot of ways,” Bell said. “…We said from the beginning that we wanted to return at a responsible time. And in coordination with local, state and national health authorities and the NBA and NHL, we can feel that now the time is right.”
Josef Card, who tends bar at Ball Arena and Coors Field and has worked at the arena for 14 years, said he has struggled to find work while caring for his elderly mother because there have not been many bartending jobs available over the past year of the pandemic.
He said he still remembers the last event there before everything shut down – Post Malone on March 10 – and that he was excited to get back as long as the protocols are adhered to.
“It certainly has taken long enough. It’s a little bit scary though, hoping that we’re not jumping the gun. But yeah, as long as everybody is safe, I’m very excited to get back.”
He said he was excited to see his coworkers and other people at the arena again and get back to normal.
“For the whole city, Pepsi Center, Coors Field seem to be a real barometer for how the city is feeling, and to not have those things open, to not see people’s faces every day, has been really depressing. So, I feel like it will be a huge step,” Card said.
Beth Smalls, who cooks at Ball Arena, said she was very much missing interacting with fans at games.
“There’s nothing like an Avalanche of Nuggets game that can be described on any level. “it’s a magical experience,” she said. “I’m looking at it on the bright side. I’m going back to work and there’s some semblance of normalcy.”
Ticket plan holders and partners will have first access to tickets through a series of presales. A limited number of seats will be available to the general public.
Click here to visit Ball Arena's website for the most up-to-date information on facility policies.