The National Football League’s Denver Broncos took COVID-era sports to a new level during their 27-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. Cardboard cutouts of all 1,800 “South Park” characters — each wearing a protective face mask — filled one section of the Broncos’ arena. The visual was striking.
Come on down to Denver and meet some friends of mine pic.twitter.com/YOGCraqGyM— South Park (@SouthPark) September 27, 2020
Sunday was the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic that the Broncos could have real-life, in-person fans attending the games. Capped at 5,700 in-person fans, CNN reported that figure is approximately 7.5% of the capacity at Denver’s stadium, Empower Field at Mile High. Six other teams are currently allowing spectators: the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.
The Broncos are the only NFL team utilizing “South Park,” and that’s fitting. The show, after all, is set in Colorado. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the cartoon’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, both grew up in Colorado, and first brainstormed “South Park” while they were students at the University of Colorado, Boulder. According to CBS Sports, “South Park” has mentioned the Broncos more than 50 times over its 23 seasons.
The team made the cardboard cutouts available for purchase, priced at $100 each, with proceeds going to Denver Broncos Charities.
“South Park” returns to Comedy Central on Sept. 30, with an hourlong “pandemic special.”