Everyone has had their eyes on the Outlaws this season, and at 8-0, can you really blame them? The Outlaws haven’t won by less than four goals this season and have beaten their opponents by an average score of 17.75 to 9.75 – talk about domination!
Last weekend, I was able to take in the Denver Outlaws game against the Ohio Machine. While there was no question that the Outlaws dominated every facet of the game on the field, the fans never once seemed bored throughout the 19-5 win over the Machine. Everyone seemed to be having a blast, no matter what their age.
Since the Outlaws’ inception in 2006, they have become a huge focal point for the growth of the sport in the Western United States, and truly can be a shining example for how other MLL teams and Pro sports can follow.
While I knew I would be taking pictures, I wanted to go into the game with the mindset of a fan. The atmosphere, the interaction, I wanted the Denver Outlaws to sell themselves to me, earn my loyalty and create a great ‘fanship’ with me.
The atmosphere is obviously a step above, just being at Mile High is an experience in itself. People may ask, “What’s the big deal?”, especially considering the fact that the fans in attendance barely make up 6% of the stadium’s capacity. When I get to walk around the entire stadium though and take in just how colossal it actually is, it becomes something special. Especially considering that Mile High is basically a 24 hour operation, running year round for the Broncos, Outlaws, and other marquee events in the area.
The Outlaws get the full treatment in there. Pristine graphics on their brand new HD video screen (part of a $30 mil renovation at Sports Authority field), quality announcing, and the full treatment of vendors, merchandise and fun in-game entertainment.
Even outside of the atmosphere, what made the experience great was the fan interaction. Stix the Raccoon, JoJo War Drummer, it was all there and the fans were loving it. Watching the fastest game on two feet doesn’t leave much downtime, but even when there was, it was filled with contests, giveaways, and all sorts of laughs and events from the Outlaws staff.
Stix may have just become my new favorite mascot too. I’ve seen a lot of mascots in my day, but I’ve never seen a mascot own his role like Stix did. Other than the goofy shenanigans in the gif above, Stix could be seen all over the sideline interacting with fans and even letting his primal instincts get the best of him.
All of these factors really make it a huge deal that the Denver Outlaws and their fans get the full experience of being in a 76,273 person stadium, no matter how few or many their fans are at each game.
It really is no wonder that Colorado is the only state in the Western region that any teams from the NLL or MLL can call home. Outside of the Minnesota Swarm and the LXM, the West has had a hard time sustaining any one team for a long time – Portland Lumberjacks, Washington Stealth, San Jose Stealth, Anaheim Storm, Arizona Sting, LA Riptide, San Francisco Dragons are all great examples of this.
The Outlaws organization is on to something. Between the team’s performance on the field and the fan experience off of it, it’s beyond evident. I definitely went away more of an Outlaws’ fan after that game.