Denver Pro Sports Teams Bring Big Crowds to Colorado
Denver’s conquering can-do spirit has lifted the town’s pro sports teams to unprecedented heights, fielding winning franchises in four major sports plus lacrosse, soccer and rugby. In fact, it was hockey’s Colorado Avalanche who became the first of these teams to bring a national championship to Mile High City in 1996, their first year in Denver. So get in on the action and read more about these Denver pro sports teams.
Top Denver Pro Sports Teams and Where to Watch Them
Baseball: Colorado Rockies
The National League West’s Colorado Rockies inhabit Coors Field, where a hit baseball goes further in Denver’s thin air. Fun fact: A ball launched 400 feet at Yankee Stadium will travel 440 feet at Coors Field.
The Colorado Rockies won a National League pennant in 2007, winning 14 of their last 15 regular-season games to sneak into the Wild Card spot — from where they claimed the National League (NL) crown. Though outfielder Larry Walker was selected as NL’s Most Valuable Player in 1997, it is the jersey of Todd Helton — the 17-year Rockie and five-time all-star — that stands as the club’s lone player number (17) retired thus far.
Football: Denver Broncos
NFL’s Denver Broncos are synonymous with success. In addition to the team’s seven Super Bowl appearances and three Lombardi Trophies, Denver’s 28 seasons with a .500 or better record since 1984 is the most in the league. That same year Hall of Famer Pat Bowlen became the team’s owner.
The Broncos’ nine AFC Championship Game appearances since 1984 are also more than their AFC West rivals — Oakland, San Diego and Kansas City — combined. Glory days Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway serves as general manager. Want to see them in action? Denver Broncos plays home games at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
Basketball: Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets, known as the Rockets when founded as an ABA team in 1967, were actually a charter member of the NBA in 1950 but folded shortly thereafter. In salute to that original franchise, a citywide vote was taken upon merging with the NBA in 1976, with Nuggets chosen to replace Rockets.
Through the years, Denver has fielded basketball greats: David Thompson, Alex English, Dikembe Mutombo, Carmelo Anthony and others have shined as golden Nuggets. The Western Conference Northwest Division contender’s multipurpose home is Pepsi Center.
Hockey: Colorado Avalanche
Founded in 1972 as Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association, the franchise merged with National Hockey League in 1979 before relocating to Denver in 1996. At that time, the team became Colorado Avalanche and immediately made history as the only NHL team to win the Stanley Cup in its initial season after relocating.
Skating in the Central Division of the Western Conference, the Avalanche have brought many stars to the ice, including Patrick Roy, the Hall of Fame goalie who was in the nets for both of Colorado’s Stanley Cup victories (1996, 2001). The Avs also call Pepsi Center home.
Lacrosse: Denver Outlaws, Colorado Mammoth
Known as “the fastest game on two feet,” lacrosse has exploded in popularity. To that end, the city has not one but two Denver pro sports teams in lacrosse.
Denver Outlaws, members of the nine-team Major League Lacrosse, have won three league titles and are MLL’s highest drawing team when home at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Colorado Mammoth are Denver’s National Lacrosse League entrant in indoor or “box lacrosse” at Pepsi Center. The Mammoth also draw big crowds and won the NLL crown in 2006.
Soccer: Colorado Rapids
One of the original founding clubs of Major League Soccer in 1996, Colorado Rapids are based in Commerce City, a northern suburb of Denver. Since 2007, they have played home games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (DSG Park).
The stadium was site of the 2007 MLS All-Star Game against Scottish powerhouse Celtic FC, a side from Glasgow that had been playing since 1888, but were beaten that day by Colorado. In 2010, the Rapids rose to the top when they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes to bring the club its first-ever MLS Cup.
Rugby: Denver Barbarians
Founded more than 50 years ago, Denver Barbarians Rugby Football Club captured its first championship in 1990. The Barbos garnered a second title in the former Rugby Super League in 1999, before waiting 20 years for their third national title.
And a win it was with a thrilling victory over Detroit Tradesmen for the Division II Club National Championship in 2018. With only 12 minutes left, the Barbarians found themselves down 11 points, but rallied to go up by a single point and hold off Detroit. All Barbo home games are played at Infinity Park in nearby Glendale, Colorado.