Raptors Rugby a Winner to Market

Denver is decidedly a sports town. It’s one of only 13 cities in the United States that has a franchise for each of the four “major” sports leagues.
Raptors Rugby a Winner to Market

Denver is decidedly a sports town. It’s one of only 13 cities in the United States that has a franchise for each of the four “major” sports leagues. And that just scratches the surface. Last year, soccer fans filled Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to 90 percent capacity. Denver is a hotbed for lacrosse. A handful of universities in or near Denver have several high profile teams. And if the above roster isn’t enough, outdoor sports provide an entire universe of options.

With that in mind, exactly how a rugby team in Glendale fits into the sporting ecosystem in Denver can be puzzling. What does rugby offer that makes it stand out? What is it about the team or the gameday experience that makes a person with every sporting option at their fingertips choose to put on a Glendale Raptors shirt and head to Infinity Park? A few area media professionals considered that question. Their jobs require them to be plugged into the needs and wants of their particular market segment, which gives each of them a great vantage point.

Die-Hard Denver

James Merillat and his business partner, Doug Ottewill, started Mile High Sports in 2002. Today, the media company produces print publications, a website, a newsletter, and a radio show. They are a major part of the Denver sports landscape. Fifteen years ago, however, Mile High Sports was simply a way for Merillat and Ottewill to pursue what they wanted to do. “Essentially, we were trying to combine the three things we like: Sports, writing, and starting our own business,” Merillat said. By Merillat’s own account, their origins were humble: “Our only experience we had was a Sports Illustrated subscription.” But they had passion for Denver sports, and they had it in spades.

The aforementioned “experience” as a Sports Illustrated subscriber might garner laughs, but it is an important piece of the story. “I really liked it when John Elway or Larry Walker was on the cover,” Merillat said. “[So we thought], ‘let’s just do that from cover to cover.’” They did just that. Every issue is about Denver, and hometown heros are on every cover and on every page after that. The coffee table publication is rich with full color photos and is full of stories that are told by people who are lifelong Denver sports fans, and unabashedly so, which sets them apart from national publications and websites.

The duo finds pride in being the go-to source for the entire Denver sports scene — not just for the biggest teams. “Media is getting more and more national, and what’s getting lost is local. ‘Preps to the pros’ was our motto, and we’ve stuck to that.” In 2007, that coverage expanded to include Mile High Radio. Again, Merrilat jokes, “Our only experience we had was that we were sports talk listeners.” But the perspective of die-hard, full-time fans is a recipe that works. “On the radio, it’s a local, noncorporate flavor,” Merrilat said. “We are owned by two guys who went to Northglenn High School. We have passion. We’re unapologetic about the fact that we’re fans. We’re just like our listeners and our readers.”

When a new rugby team appeared in Glendale nearly a decade ago, Merrilat was intrigued. “We’ve seen a lot of teams come and go. But you could tell from the outset, this team had some long-term plans. It’s rugby played at the highest level.” They’ve been covering it since the beginning, and Merrilat sees a parallel in lacrosse. “We’ve seen growth in lacrosse. It was basically nonexistent when we started, now it’s booming. I saw rugby and thought, ‘it could go in the same direction.’” So far it has, but keeping that momentum going will require more and more people in the U.S. giving the sport a shot. Merrilat said that shouldn’t be too difficult: “The Raptors have always been excellent. They always were in it to be the best team. There’s nothing like having a winner to market. It makes life easier.”

Movie Night Vendors

Appealing to a Broad Audience

Jill Merriam has been a sales and advertising specialist for nearly a decade, the past four with KSE radio, which operates multiple stations in the Denver area — 92.5 the Wolf, Mix 100.3, Kool 105, and Altitude Sports. Her job requires her to know who her listeners are and what they are interested in. Soon after she came to KSE, she knew that many of her listeners would be interested in rugby, even if they didn’t know it yet. “I’ve always been a rugby fan. I live in Glendale, work by the park, and can see the park from our office.” She said the ease with which people can attend a game (easy access, free parking), the facility (low-cost tickets, open seating), and the experience (great rugby, friendly environment) make it a no-brainer for almost any type of person.

And, if you’re more than just a casual sports fan, many find the experience to be unique compared to almost every other option. “The players hang out afterwards,” she said. “It’s an intimate experience. You can grab a Guinness and sit with them and watch sports. It’s just fun.”

Merriam can list off a variety of different types of listeners that her stations reach, and why they’ve come to enjoy Raptors games. “92.5 is the country station. That station reaches younger, active people in the Denver market. It’s a good mix of men and women.” Rugby is a fun date idea — exciting yet inexpensive. It’s also ideal for the same reasons for people who live near downtown: “What’s going on this weekend? Oh, a rugby game!” Altitude sports is KSE’s newest station. It broadcasts local sports 24/7, catering to die-hard Denver fans. They’re the radio home for the Nuggets, Avalanche, Mammoth, and Rapids, but it’s not uncommon to catch Raptors coaches and players being interviewed on air, talking about rugby.

Infinite Possibilities

Bo Jaxon is the program director on the Mix 100.3. He also is the voice behind many of the videos that play at Infinity Park during Raptors games. Jaxon said the Mix is a go-to for women between 25 and 54 years old. The station partners with Infinity Park to promote and produce Monday Movie Madness, the annual summer outdoor movie series. You’ll often find Bo at the Mix’s promotional table before the movie begins. “It’s a great family fun environment,” he said. “It’s just cool to see a movie outside on the big screen, plus there’s good food and drawings” he said. And his listeners have discovered that rugby isn’t just a spectator sport: It’s becoming a popular youth sport. Jaxon said children of listeners are playing in youth leagues, which makes attending Raptors games that much more fun — many of the youth coaches play for the Raptors. “It’s cool to be in on the ground floor,” he said. The family-friendly nature of rugby is something his listeners are keen on. “People are very busy nowadays,” he said. The variety of programming to find at Infinity Park makes it easy to have “dedicated family time.”

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Applicants must be 21 years of age or older. The City of Glendale shall have at least one business day after receiving application to review. The City of Glendale reserves the right to take additional time to review any application.

Full payment of rental fees and required deposits are required at the time of application. A deposit will be required prior to your event and will be returned within 30 days after your event as long as no damages are incurred. An employee from Infinity Park and/or the Glendale Public Works department will report on any damages or cleaning charges before your deposit will be returned.

Rental fees are charged for the entire reserved time which is to include set-up and tear down/clean up. Your group will be expected to vacate space promptly at end time listed on permit. Additional fees may apply based on the size and scope of event.

The City of Glendale reserves the right to: 1) amend the rental rules as needed to serve the best interest of the City; 2) relocate any meeting/activity based on unforeseen circumstances; 3) have a designated employee visit any activity site or require that the Glendale Police Department enforce the terms of this rental agreement; 4) terminate the permit at any time in the interest of public safety without refund of rental fees or deposit.

The City of Glendale assumes no liability for lost or stolen property on park premises or for personal injuries sustained on the premises during the permit holder’s activity.

Permits will be issued upon approval of application. Reservation notices will be posted on the day of the event.

Changes to date or site may be charged $25.00 per permit change.


Applications should be submitted at least 10 business days prior to requested date of use. Applications received within 24 hours of event/activity may be charged a $25 service fee. Payment and all applicable documents must besubmitted at least 5 business days prior to permit date. Depending on the nature of the activity, “applicable” documents may include an Athletic Organization Information Form, Waiver of Liability and/or Insurance Agreement.

All applications will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis and will be accepted via mail, fax or email. Payment must accompany application before being considered. Any application submitted without complete information and/or without payment will not be reviewed.

Mailing Address: Infinity Park Operations, 950 S Birch St., Glendale, CO 80246
Fax: 303-639-4611


By mail: Applications must be accompanied by payment: check (made out to “City of Glendale”), money order or Visa/MasterCard.

By email or fax: A credit card authorization form must accompany application.

Rental Guidelines, Terms & Conditions

1. Daily Park Hours: The Synthetic Turf Athletic Field at Infinity Park is available to reserve from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM. The volleyball courts, as well as the pavilions and fields at Creekside and Mir Parks, are available to reserve from 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM. Use of all spaces may be limited to certain months of the year and select days of the week

2. Park Permit: A permit is required for any group activity (“group” is defined as activities with 10 or more people). The permit must be in the possession of the group while the site is in use. Permits are non-transferable and non-refundable. The City of Glendale reserves the right to change and/or revoke any permit and restrict activities in the park at any given time. Any violations of City of Glendale policies, rules, regulations, or guidelines may result in immediate revocation of permit. Use of any of the facilities described in this document without the appropriate authorization may result in fines and possible loss of future scheduling privileges.

3. Usage Priority: If a site has been permitted, the permit-holder has priority over other users. Contact Park Operations (number listed on permit) for any site issues.

4. Fees: Fees are due in full; deposits or partial payments are not accepted. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, check, and money orders (made payable to City of Glendale) or Master Card or Visa Credit Cards.

5. Attendee Conduct: The permit-holder is responsible for his/her actions as well as the actions of gathering attendees.

6. Restroom Facilities: Restroom facilities are taken on an “as is” basis and are not part of any reserved space.

7. Vehicular Access: Motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited. Roadways and parking areas are clearly marked and established. Driving beyond designated boundaries to load and unload equipment or transport goods is prohibited. Vehicles will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.

8. Site Clean Up: It is the permit holder’s responsibility to clean up after each use. Trash must be properly disposed of in dumpsters or trash barrels (depending on the size and scope, certain permit holders may be required to provide additional trash receptacles/dumpsters). Ice may be placed in barrels or spread out on hard surfaces. Grills of any type are prohibited. Trash is not to be left in flowerbeds, on grassy areas, under/in trees, shrubs, vegetation, buildings, or structures. Excessive trash removal on the part of Infinity Park or the Glendale Public Works Department may result in forfeiture of deposit, fines and possible loss of future scheduling privileges.

9. Destruction of Property: It is unlawful for any person, other than authorized personnel, to mark, remove, break, or climb upon, or in any way injure, damage or deface trees, shrubs, plants, turf, or any of the buildings, fences, monuments, goal posts, or other structures or property within or upon the park.

10. Damage: Broken fences, seating, goals, or any potential safety hazards such as holes or broken sprinkler heads should be reported immediately to the phone number listed on the permit.

11. Glass Bottles/Containers: Glass bottles and containers are prohibited.

12. Alcoholic Beverages: 3.2% beer is the only alcoholic beverage allowed in the park, except under special licensing. Beer must be served in cans or from a keg in plastic cups. All State liquor laws apply. Alcoholic beverage sales, including purchased tickets, are prohibited, except under special licensing.

13. Dogs: Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Bag dispensers are provided, and dog owners are expected to clean up after their pets.

14. Amplified Sound: Amplified sound (i.e. P.A. systems, music) is prohibited without Assembly Permit or Special Event Contract.

15. Canopies and Tents: Tents, canopies and additional tables and chairs provided by groups using the parks/pavilions will be permitted. Staking is prohibited; weights, including water, lead and sand are allowed.

16. Signage: Signs, banners, party decorations, and canopies may not be attached to trees, shelters, light fixtures, or other park structures. Blocking areas, including sidewalks, parking lots, paths, and roadways is prohibited.

17. Prohibited Activities/Items: included, but not limited to: aircraft, air castles, carnivals, climbing walls, dunk tanks, fireworks, golf, horseback riding, hot air balloons, inflatable games, model airplanes, moon walks, petting zoos, pony rides, and search lights (some of these activities may be allowed with limited hours and Assembly City of Glendale 950 South Birch St, Glendale. CO 80246 Page | 6 permit or Special Event Contract). Weapons, including but not limited to such items as knives, firearms, bows and arrows, martial arts weapons, javelins, shot-puts, discus, and all other projectiles, are prohibited. All Federal, State and Municipal laws apply.

18. Admission: Charging admission or gate charges is prohibited, except under a Special Event or Assembly permit.

19. Gambling: Raffles, gambling, bingo, and games where money buys a chance are prohibited.

20. Grills: Mir and Creekside Park Pavilions: portable gas grills are allowed (permit holders may also use the grills located at the pavilions); Infinity Park: grills of all types – charcoal, gas, portable, etc., – are prohibited. Two (2) stationary, charcoal grills are located west of the pavilion.

21. Event Equipment Needs: The permit holder is responsible for providing all necessary equipment and services, including but not limited to activity-related equipment, canopies, tents, chairs, tables, scaffolding, portable toilets, hand sinks, water or water containers, trash receptacles, trash pick-up, recycling, and clean-up crews. All equipment and fixtures provided by permit holder must be temporary in nature and may not be affixed, attached or permanently change the condition of the playing surface.

22. Insurance: Insurance is required for reservations for 100 or more people. In such cases, permit holder must provide commercial general liability insurance for the benefit of all activity-related individuals and groups, including permit holder group members, participants, attendees, invitees, and the City of Glendale. The commercial general liability insurance shall provide coverage of at least $1,000,000 and name the City of Glendale, its employees, agents and/or assigns as Additional Insured. The certificate of this commercial general liability insurance shall be received by theCity no later than twenty-one (21) days prior to the permit holder’s scheduled use of the site reserved. Permit holder expressly acknowledges and agrees that homeowner’s insurance coverage does not meet the requirements hereof. Certificate must read as follows with this exact language: ADDITIONALLY INSURED: THE CITY OF GLENDALE, ITS OFFICERS, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES. If you are unable to obtain this insurance, please contact Park Operations at 303-692-5799

23. Permit Revocation: Permits may be revoked for failure to follow guidelines in any way.


1. Field Conditions: Athletic field permit holders may be asked to limit field use hours and days as determined by Infinity Park Operations and/or the City of Glendale Public Works Department. In the case of adverse field conditions, such as weather, sprinkler operations, field repairs, etc., athletic fields may be closed. Any use of the athletic fields without the appropriate authorization or when the fields are closed may result in fines and possible loss of future scheduling privileges.

2. Snow Removal: Individuals are not allowed to remove snow from any of the fields.

3. Equipment: All teams, organizations and players are required to provide their own equipment for practices, games and tournaments. All equipment and fixtures provided by permit holder must be temporary in nature and may not be affixed, attached or permanently change the condition of the playing surface.

4. Field Markings: Any field markings not applied by the Glendale Public Works Department may result in forfeiture of deposit, penalty fees and loss of future scheduling privileges.

5. Insurance/Waiver of Liability Options: Option 1. The permit holder provides 1) a roster with player names, addresses and cities of residence listed and 2) proof of insurance on an “Accord Insurance Certificate.” Insurance Certificate must 1) reflect a minimum coverage amount of $1,000,000; 2) reflect a 30 day cancellation period with notice of intent to cancel provided to Infinity Park AND the City of Glendale at the address listed on the permit; and 3) state the Additionally Insured as “THE CITY OF GLENDALE, ITS OFFICERS, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES.” Binders and pending or blanket policies are not acceptable.

Option 2. In lieu of an Insurance Certificate, permit holder signs waiver form on behalf of all participants (form located next page).