Colorado Governor Bill Owens blew a ceremonial first whistle starting an on-field soccer scrimmage between members of the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer team who were joined by soccer and lacrosse players from Commerce City’s Alsup Elementary School.
"What a great day for Kroenke Sports for Commerce City and for all of Colorado Governor Owens said.
"The Rapids stadium at Prairie Gateway will become the newest gem among the area’s major sports venues. The investors who have made this a reality are giving this community far more than a sports venue and an economic engine – this is a facility that will bring families together in a wholesome setting."
(For more details on the new Rapids Stadium's design plans and amenities CLICK HERE.)
"The Kroenke Sports organization could not be more proud to be starting work on the Prairie Gateway development KSE Executive Vice President Paul Andrews said. "We are making a commitment to providing a world class facility and world class youth sports program in the heart of the West."
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced that the Rapids will play the stadium’s inaugural game on April 21 2007 starting a 570-day countdown to Opening Day of the Rapids’ 12th season in Colorado.
"As the world’s largest soccer complex the new Rapids stadium in Commerce City will revolutionize the sport of soccer in Colorado and change the face of the sport in the region Garber said.
"Alongside stadium developments in other cities across America and the recent opening of Pizza Hut Park in Texas this facility is further proof that soccer in the United States continues to gain momentum."
"The largest youth and professional soccer complex is not in England it's not in Brazil it's not in Germany the site of next year's World Cup said MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the ceremony. "It's in the United States of America here in Colorado here in Commerce City. I think that's something we should be very proud of."
(For more details on how the new Rapids Stadium and Prairie Gateway project will transform the face of Commerce City CLICK HERE.)
Andrews noted that the stadium will be home to not just the Rapids but will serve as the summer home of the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth. The NLL indoor team has seen huge success in three seasons in Denver and will base its youth lacrosse programs at Prairie Gateway. NLL Commissioner Jim Jennings was on hand for the ceremonies.
"This is a market full of enthusiastic young lacrosse players Mammoth general manager Steve Govett said. "We could do player clinics every single day and not meet the demand for lacrosse education. This new complex gives the Mammoth an ideal platform from which to teach young athletes."
The new Rapids Stadium will be the cornerstone of an expansive sports entertainment and retail complex. The stadium will be pre-fitted for concerts and stage events seating up to 26000 while seating 18000 for sports events. Twenty-four youth and professional practice fields will join the stadium in the sports park making it the largest soccer complex in the United States.
Included in the 917-acre mixed-use Prairie Gateway development will be a new Commerce City civic center housing most city government offices a hotel complex and more than 600000 feet of retail and commercial space to be developed by KSE.
Also on the property built in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be a facility housing offices a conference center areas for environmental learning programs and a visitors’ center that will serve as a gateway to the 27-square mile Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge.
The Prairie Gateway project is being developed jointly by KSE and Commerce City. Last November Commerce City voters approved bond issues to cover road and infrastructure improvements. The City and County of Denver also committed funds to improve roads that abut the project’s property.
"This is truly a unique partnership between private enterprise non-profit organizations and governments at the local state and federal level Andrews said. "This development in conjunction with new education programs for youth marks the start of a new era in sports business."
The new Rapids Stadium will be located at 6000 Victory Way in Commerce City.
(To view newly-released renderings of what the new Rapids Stadium and surrounding areas will look like visit the updated Rapids Stadium Photo Gallery by CLICKING HERE.)
The only way for fans to secure seats at the new Rapids Stadium in 2007 is by being an existing or new Rapids Season Ticket Holder for the 2006 season. Deposits for new 2006 season tickets can be made through the club's front office by calling (303) 825-GOAL (4625) and renewals are being taken now for existing Season Ticket Holders. Current Rapids season ticket holders will have first priority of seat choices in the new stadium.
Kroenke Sports Enterprises is the Rocky Mountain West’s leading provider of sports and entertainment with ownership of the Colorado Rapids as well as the NBA Denver Nuggets NHL Colorado Avalanche NLL Colorado Mammoth Pepsi Center arena Paramount Theatre Altitude Sports and Entertainment regional sports network Opera Shop theatrical services company and Altitude Premium Consulting retail operation as well as partial ownership of the AFL Colorado Crush and Universal Lending Pavilion.