Those wanting to watch the class 4A and 5A state championship football games will have to enter Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins as a destination point on their driving direction apps.
The Colorado High School Activities Association and Colorado State University announced the relocation earlier this month. It takes effect this coming school year. The class 3A title game moves to CSU in the 2024 school year.
A statement on CHSAANow.com said the deal runs for several years. Canvas Stadium, which opened in 2017, can seat 36,500 people.
“Obviously, an incredible number of considerations come into play when it comes to a decision of this magnitude,” CHSAA Commissioner Mike Krueger said in the statement. “As we learned more and continued dialogue with CSU, it became apparent that CSU and Canvas Stadium was going to be a great fit for our schools and membership as a whole.”
Krueger also pointed out local impacts from staging such events.
“We look forward to the city of Fort Collins opening their arms and embracing these championships like the city of Pueblo has done at the Thunderbowl for the six-man, eight-man, 1A and 2A classifications,” he said in the statement. “I believe it is a strength when we recognize the diversity in our state and acknowledge that our kids come from all over. Bringing this championship event to Fort Collins continues our efforts to build upon that strength.”
The class 4A and 5A football championships had been contested at Empower Field at Mile High since 2005. Starting in 2024, all three title games will be on the same day at Canvas Field. The six-man, eight-man and class 1A and 2A title games will remain at the ThunderBowl at CSU-Pueblo
“Leaving a special venue like Empower Field is definitely not easy. We have built and maintain a great relationship with the Denver Broncos and we are proud to have called Empower Field at Mile High our home for the last 18 years,” Krueger said in the statement. “As with all things, there comes a time for change. With our contract expiring, we felt it was only natural to explore all opportunities. We are proud members of Broncos Country and incredibly grateful to the Denver Broncos organization, as well as the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, for their unending support and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership with them on a number of other projects and initiatives.”
The contract with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame ended at the conclusion of the 2022-23 school year.
“We are proud to have worked with and established strong relationships with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame,” CHSAA Assistant Commissioner John Sullivan said in the statement. He is in charge of the state’s football programs. “Moving forward, we are excited to give our CHSAA football schools the opportunity to see the same things that attracted our team to CSU. The facilities are fantastic, the fact that the stadium is in the heart of a college campus, and the ability for us to include 3A into the 4A and 5A game day schedule after the fall of 2023 made this new partnership so inviting.”
The 3A, 4A and 5A football state finals for 2023 are scheduled for Dec. 2.