Esports Center At Mile High? Gamers May Soon Have Their Go-To Destination

Written By Ian St. Clair on 04/08/2021 - Last Updated on March 21, 2024

The Denver Broncos are about to make a region of gamers feel like kids again.

At the end of March, the Broncos and Esports Entertainment Group announced they had entered into a multi-year agreement. The partnership calls for three Madden tournaments a year that are held at Empower Field at Mile High.

The plan is for gamers to play on the field at Mile High while playing on the huge Jumbotron on the southside of the stadium.

Even better, members of the Broncos will play the fans.

At least for now, there’s not an esport betting component tied to this agreement. As for whether EEG will look to get a Colorado esports sports betting license, that’s to be determined.

But that’s in the immediate future, and while incredibly exciting, is just the start. EEG is based in Malta, and prior to the agreement with the Broncos, had them in place with the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Kings and LA Galaxy.

Gaming center at Mile High

There’s a potential plan to bring a state-of-the-art gaming center to the stadium.

The Broncos organization has discussed revamping the area around Mile High for the last few years. The goal is to make it a destination location with shops, restaurants and potentially a hotel. It would mimic what the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots currently have at their facilities.

But the idea of a gaming center is brand new.

We’re talking about high-powered consoles that most people don’t have at home. Included in that are virtual reality elements.

“It’s in the planning stage,” EEG CEO Grant Johnson told PlayColorado. “It had already been discussed at the Broncos organization about bringing in a gaming lounge. We would like to bring in a facility where people gather and they could play with their buddies. There could be events there. Universities, colleges, high schools, local teams, emerging pro players can go.

“So it’s a real immersive event. You’ve got the big screens where they broadcast Twitch feeds, YouTube feeds, big tournaments are taking place in these gaming lounges. They’re also licensed facilities. And by having that venue close to the stadium, it keeps the fans more engaged with the Broncos year round, as opposed to just in football season.”

Helix Gaming Center is a possible model

Photo courtesy of Helix Gaming Center

As for what the gaming center could look like, look at the Helix Gaming Center near Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. This is one of three Helix Gaming Centers in the U.S. But let’s focus on the one associated with the Patriots, since that’s what the Broncos gaming center may resemble. According to the gaming center website:

  • 13,000 square feet
  • Four rooms
  • 100 + cyberpower i5 2070 super PCs

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a full restaurant and bar concept in the venue.

Whether the gaming center at Mile High resembles that remains to be seen, but that gives gamers and fans an idea of what it could look like.

EEG recently purchased Helix Esports

If you were wondering how EEG and Helix are associated, EEG has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Helix Esports and ggCircuit for $43 million. However, the deal has not officially closed as of yet. That amount will be split 50% cash and 50% EEG shares on NASDAQ, priced upon the closing of the transaction. The release announcing the deal expects that to happen at the end of the second quarter this year.

From Johnson’s perspective, the fact his vision for this gaming center is similar to the one the Broncos have makes the conversation and planning even easier.

“(The Broncos) have earmarked a substantial budget for it,” Johnson said. He also made clear that an agreement hasn’t been signed. “And they were quite pleased to hear that working with us, it would be almost impossible to spend the budget that they’d been quoted. Don’t get me wrong. We won’t turn down any budget. You want to give us a $3 million bonus, we’ll take it. But we’ve got the expertise, we’ve got the experience, we’ve got the infrastructure and software.

“We’ve got the know-how with our gaming and tournament platform. We’ve been running those tournaments for the Premier League teams for 10 years. So we’ve got the pedigree. And I can say, I know for a fact there is no other company, unless they’re somewhere in China or Russia or Korea possibly, but there’s no other European or North American company that has the array of the infrastructure that we bring to the table and our partnerships with the Broncos and the other pro teams.”

Broncos all-in on sports betting and gaming

The Broncos have clearly gone all-in on Colorado sports betting and gaming.

The franchise was the first in the NFL to establish partnerships with sportsbooks.

Now the Broncos are getting into the esports realm.

Not only does that add possible revenue streams, it allows the organization to grow the fanbase. And with that gaming center, it’s a destination spot for gamers who aren’t Broncos or NFL fans.

That’s down the road. For now, gamers across the region can look forward to playing Madden against members of the Broncos. Like, say, receiver Courtland Sutton.

Talk about an incredible experience. You get to play Madden against Sutton on the field of Mile High on that huge Jumbotron?

“If you think about it, what better prize for the fans than to get a unique experience with the team,” Johnson said. “Whether they get to come down to the stadium and play against the team players, the pros themselves, or go to the owner’s box to watch a game, or get signed swag, or win season tickets, things that they really can’t buy. They’re just not available. You have to win those things.

“And the more we dug into it, the more excited we got, the more excited the Broncos got. OK, let’s start with these tournaments. Let’s see which other games and other titles we want to run. Clearly, Madden is what would fall into the default category of the proverbial no-brainer.”

Are esports about to take off?

There has been talk over the last decade about how each subsequent year is the one that esports finally takes off.

Now that EEG has partnerships with the Broncos and Eagles, that’s closer to reality than it’s ever been.

“The sky’s the limit. Clearly, we’ve learned that COVID accelerated all of this. I think it’s fair to say and you can’t ignore that. When people were forced to be locked up, their escape was through the internet. My belief, personally, would have been about 2022 or 2023.

“So it’s here. It’s growing. It’s going to be part of the ecosystem. And we intend to actually be a primary driver, not just when we start events but then get gaming centers. And then to getting down to the betting component, the skill betting part of that.”

In the not-so-distant-future, the possible addition of a state-of-the-art gaming center like New England’s will boost excitement levels for gamers across the Rocky Mountain region.

“It’s a great venue for the fans to come to and the Broncos want that, and they were already planning on doing that prior to meeting us,” Johnson said. “And one thing that I know about football fans, and especially when you get to the large fan bases like the Broncos, they want to be engaged all year round. So this gives us that opportunity. That’s my vision. That’s the way I see it. And the Broncos, they’ve got a similar vision.”

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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