SBJ/July 17-23, 2017/In Depth

Taste of the Broncos becomes hot ticket for team’s fans and corporate partners

Quarterback Trevor Siemian helps with food prep at last year’s event in Denver.
Photo by: DENVER BRONCOS
When Allie Pisching joined the Denver Broncos in April as executive director of community development, one of the few things that surprised her was the number of questions she received on when tickets to the team’s Taste of the Broncos event would be available.

The event, which is similar to the model established by Taste of the NFL and used by a number of NFL teams, is just one of an increasing number of food-related activities the team holds throughout the year in Denver.

“When you talk about holding events, you want to be able to reach out to as many different people as possible, and food is so universal,” Pisching said. “The Taste of the Broncos is not only reaching our fans, our season and suite ticket holders and our corporate sponsors, but also community-minded people who want to support community fundraising events and people who are fans of local restaurants or chefs.”

Now in its third year, the Taste of the Broncos, scheduled to be held on Sept. 18, brings together current and former players along with more than 30 Colorado restaurants to provide food samples on the Noble Energy Sports Legends Mall, which is located directly south of the team’s stadium. The Broncos sell both general admission and VIP tickets, which provide access to a special pre-event in the team’s locker room, as well as early access to the tailgate. Proceeds from the event benefit the Food Bank of the Rockies, as well as team charities.

The Broncos work with Denver chef Troy Guard and his TAG Restaurant Group to select the restaurants and chefs that participate, as well as help organize the event. The team also consults with Sports Authority Field at Mile High facility manager Stadium Management Co.

“There’s nothing wrong with traditional fundraising events like golf events and the like, but there is just something fun and social about an event like this that takes great food and also gives attendees an opportunity to give back,” Pisching said. “And as much as I like going to a traditional gala or luncheon, this is something my friends and I would buy tickets to.”

The team expects this year’s edition of the Taste of the Broncos to draw close to 1,500 attendees. It does not disclose its budget for the event.

In addition, the Broncos recently hosted the Bacon and Beer Classic at the stadium, and had several players appear on an episode of “Top Chef.” The team also hosts a celebrity chef outside of the stadium for each home game during the season.

These food events have provided the team with a unique new area of activation for partners.

At last year’s Taste of the Broncos event, the team’s partnership marketing group worked with Guard to reach out to chefs to see if they would consider incorporating Tabasco, one of the team’s partners, into the dishes they were going to create for the event, or create food items that would pair well with Tabasco sauce, which could be put out on counters for attendees to use. The event was also sponsored by King Soopers, a local grocer whose products were also featured.

On game days to host a celebrity chef, the team uses an oversized gas-powered grill that is branded for oil and gas producer Noble Energy, which also holds the naming rights to the fan interactive area near the stadium. Before each game, a local chef and Broncos alumni appear for a cooking demonstration, where afterward fans can sample the food.

“From our perspective, nothing goes better with football than food, so to be able to have Noble Energy power the grill, tie in the team and the local food scene, give a local restaurant and a chef a little bit of exposure, and provide something interesting and informative for fans, it really hits on everything we try to do,” said Sandy Young, Broncos director of partnership marketing. “When you talk about activations on a game day, you know you’re going to hit one demographic — game attendees. When you have these different opportunities that provide different audiences with other modes of entry, it broadens that reach.”


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