THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
October 12, 2003 - In 2001 we made our first trip to Lambeau Field, and got to see a stadium just beginning to undergo a massive renovation and transformation. We vowed right then and there that we would return to see how it all turned out. Heck, no need to twist our arms for a trip to Green Bay to see some football! So here we are, back to experience football in a place like no other, and in the NEW Lambeau Field..."The Rebirth of a Legend".
|Lambeau Field Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 10|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 8|
|Bonus: Tailgate Scene|| 3|
|Bonus: USRT Assist|| 2|
|Bonus: Atrium|| 1|
|Bonus: Hall of Fame|| 1|
|Bonus: Titletown|| 1|
|Total Score|| 78.5|
Packers football is an institution here... it is a religion... and the team impacts the very fibre of this community in a very big way. So is it any surprise that the voters of this county approved a 1/2 percent sales tax dedicated to fund stadium improvements? The resulting plan was a total overhaul and facelift of Lambeau Field, a reconstruction costing $295M, and the venue standing today is a vastly different experience than the old Lambeau Field that people had been accustomed to. Yet in other ways it retains the same look and ambience, and gratefully, a day of football here has not been sanitized into some bland corporate experience.
Getting to the Venue
With a small town population, getting to the stadium is simple, with easy road access from any direction to the south end of Green Bay where the venue is located. The main expressway through town is US 41, exit on Lombardi Avenue and you are two blocks from the stadium. Hop in your car and chances are you will drive down a street named "Holmgren Way", "Packerland Drive" or "Lombardi Avenue" while enroute, and businesses such as "Titletown Collision" and "Titletown Brewing Company" will be in your sights. Clearly, this city's football team is meshed with the community's culture like nowhere else in America. If you have the time, stop by the grounds of old City Stadium, former home of the Packers and now the playing field for a local high school. The old clubhouse still stands and replica gates, turnstiles and iron fence are in place to give an idea of where the stadium once stood. Parking spots at Lambeau are reserved for permit holders, but there is plenty of general parking in private lots at business and homes. Prices start at $20-$25 but drop quickly if you are willing to walk a few blocks (we found a $5 lot three blocks away). More than a few homes offer amenities such as use of their bathroom facilities and backyard grills to entice parking patrons.
Outside the Venue
When gameday comes to Lambeau Field, prepare for an extraordinary experience. The stadium lots open four hours before game time and the lines at the turn lanes stretch for quite a distance leading to the entrances long before they open. Then there are the bars, eateries and hotels surrounding the stadium, as well as the sparkling new Resch Center, the city's 12,000 seat arena all open for business. There are tailgates, street parties, live music, street vendors, barbecues and other entertainment everywhere, and fans packs the streets hours before the game to soak up the scene. Even in the cold weather, lots of drinking establishments set up large tents outside their buildings and invite fans for some pre and post game libations and entertainment.
A couple of establishments deserve special mention, Brett Favre has a steakhouse in the vicinity amongst many sports bars. Again we have to mention one place in particular, and that is Kroll's West Restaurant, directly across from Lambeau. This Green Bay institution opened up in 1936 and is famous for its chili and most notably, its burgers with toppings such as ketchup, onions, and two slabs of butter...yes, you read that correctly. Radio personality Jim Rome once mentioned that Green Bay stands amongst the fattest cities in America, that after being offered shots of ranch dressing at his tour stop here. With all this plus the brats and cheese we also know that folks here love their cholesterol!
The Lambeau Field Atrium
With the renovation now completed, this venue stakes the claim of being the first "retro" stadium in the NFL. Brick facade, stone accents and wrought iron dominate the exterior architecture, reminiscent of the new baseball parks erected during the last 15 years. The main entrance is on the northeast corner of the building and that is where you will find the stupendous Atrium at Lambeau Field. The beautifully landscaped and flowered entrance plaza outside makes for a great meeting spot and photo op, and people were lined up waiting to take their pictures at the massive statues of Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi. Step inside, and your senses will be dazzled, for here you will see a soaring five story atrium all flooded in natural light and beautifully tiled and decorated. Some of the facilities you will find in the atrium - the two level team store, with doors to the outside and to the lobby. Then there is the Packers Hall of Fame, relocated from their former home across the street from the stadium. Curly's Pub is on the second floor, a restaurant and bar with plenty of table seating and TVs to enjoy the game. Some specialty concession stands, including Brett Favre's stand are also exclusive to the Atrium. And we should mention an interactive game area and entertainment zone, also on the second floor. Glass view elevators and escalator towers provide a great view of the whole setup while riding upstairs. And balconies overlook the lobby from each level. Clearly, they have built a facility that is not only for use on ten game dates, but is a year round entertainment destination. And they did it with taste and style!
The renovation more than doubled the width of concourses and turned this from a one concourse to a two concourse facility. They maintained the "retro" look by keeping the old steel support beams and framework in place and even the old stenciled section signage, but painted and repaved the areas to give everything a fresh look. Concession stands were all given new canopies and old fashioned light fixtures. But the coolest decorative features are the ad panels and great moments exhibits amply scattered throughout the corridors. All signage here is black and white, the ads are old fashioned and "retro", and the historical murals are all done very nicely. The building is easy to navigate, until making your way into the seating area. That's where things get a bit dicey...
One of the most famous seating bowls in all of sports, again we cannot emphasize enough about the old time feel of this place as it is something you cannot wholly recreate. Seating capacity was expanded and is now at roughly 70,000. Even with the renovation, the overall look of the seating bowl was left unchanged. Still bench seating with stenciled seat numbers, very narrow aisles and stairwells, and the only armchair seats in the building are the outdoor club seats on the east sideline. Indoor club seats and suites ring the top of the building on three sides, but the seating bowl is totally open air and very intimate. New scoreboards and video boards have been installed high above each end zone, and we were sorry to see the massive analog "Oneida Nation" clock gone. No digital LED boards or high tech gizmos here... the distinctive look was kept intact.
With the renovation comes lots of good food, and the coolest concessions are located in or near the Atrium. Brett Favre's Two Minute Grill offers steak sandwiches and jambalaya; Fratello's is an Italian stand offering lasagna, fettucini alfredo and a dish called "tiramisu". We have no clue what that is. Chili Johns offers home made chili and chili dogs and the Meat Packing Company(where the name Packers comes from) sells jumbo sandwiches. Pizza, chicken sandwiches and of course brats can be found throughout the stadium. The main team store is off the Atrium lobby with other merchandise stands around the building.
The renovation added a good number of indoor club seats and suites, and outdoor club seats, all with access to a private concourse on the fifth floor and overlooking the Atrium. Interesting here that in addition to the obligatory lounge areas, carpeted floors and bars, there is an area called the "Legends Club", with outdoor balconies, indoor table seating and configured to serve as conference/banquet space on non game days. All very practical!
On the façade of the suites ringing the playing field is where you can see the history of this proud franchise. The seasons of the Packers 12 NFL Championships are here, and on their ring of honor are a total of 20 members of the Packers organization who have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. But the best of the best are reserved for the stadium's south end zone - the Packers four retired numbers #3 Tony Canadeo, #14 Don Hutson, #15 Bart Starr and #66 Ray Nitschke are displayed here.
Touchdowns, Extra Points, and Fumbles
Touchdown to Green Bay Packers fans who have sold out this building and support the team like no other in any of the four major sports. Season ticket waiting list requests top 60,000 seats. The team maintains a separate season ticket base of "Milwaukee tickets", dating back to their playing days at Milwaukee County Stadium as well. Packers tickets are the hottest thing going in the state of Wisconsin and that is not going to change anytime in the forseeable future.
Touchdown to the Packers front office for making a small float of tickets available to the single ticket buyer. Here's how it works... during the summer residents of Brown County show up and enter a "ticket lottery". One must sign up for four seats and if you are selected, they come in the mail and your credit card is charged. The downside... you don't know what game you are getting, it is all the luck of the draw.
Fumble to the USRT Karma...again we wanted to will the home team to a victory, but the hometown Packers blew a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter and the game went into overtime. The undefeated Kansas City Chiefs won the toss and marched down the field, but their field goal attempt was blocked. The Karma strikes!!! But it was short lived as the Packers fumbled on the next play. KC quarterback Trent Green threw a long touchdown strike on the subsequent play and it was lights out. KC 40, GB 34.
Extra Point As with the old set up, the new scoreboard at Lambeau keeps track of total rushing and passing yardage for each team.
Extra Point another unique fact about this franchise - it is community owned. People own shares to the team and elect a board of directors, who in turn appoint officers to run the team. Don't expect to make a financial killing though. The stock pays no dividends and is not traded on the open market. Plus ownership is capped at 200,000 shares, insuring that no billionaire swoops in with a hostile takeover bid.
Touchdown and props to MARK SCHIEFELBEIN of the Packers front office who made precious game tickets available for two desperate road trippers from Buffalo, terrific seats 14 rows off the field no less. Thanks Mark and we are pleased to induct you into the USRT Hall of Fame with our appreciation.
Fumble To Continental Airlines... what is it about our plans to go to Green Bay that things always go haywire?! We were forced to DRIVE (yea, we know....we're the Ultimate Sports ROAD Trip! Quit yer whining, right!!!) here, this after we arrived at the airport, saw our flight was delayed, we would miss our connection, and the airline couldn't even promise us seats even the next day since it was a holiday weekend and all their flights were full. To top it off, we have a non refundable ticket, so no money back, but we have one year to use the tickets for full value less a $100 per ticket "change fee". A change fee? A CHANGE FEE? You almost ruin our entire weekend and now this?! You can't be serious Continental!!! (Andrew made the call to their customer service department, and yes, they waived the "change fee". Can you imagine the nerve of these people?!)
Extra Point Hand painted advertisements on brick walls. Holy Conseco Fieldhouse!!! Many concourse design elements seem to mimic the wonderful and nostalgic feel of Indianapolis' great temple to basketball. The finishing touches and decor throughout this venue are outstanding!
Touchdown To the Packers, for not putting some corporate name on Lambeau Field, which would be the ultimate slap in the face to such a hallowed ground. Similar to Cleveland Browns Stadium they let the big corporations such as Verizon and Miller Beer fight over the naming rights to the gates to the stadium.
Tailgating and football here in "Titletown" is as pure and good as it gets anywhere in the National Football League. People here are so nice, so friendly, so down to earth and they just love their Packers. But in these days in sports, it's all about suites, it's all about corporate sponsors, hospitality tents, big dollars. Here was our biggest fear - Would the renovation of the stadium crowd out the average fan? Would the expansion turn Lambeau Field into a playpen for the corporations and the conglomerates? Think it couldn't happen here? Just talk to Redskins fans, who wax poetic about their old RFK Stadium and rail about sterile and expensive Fedex Field and you get the picture.
The answer here is just good, good news - the great and noble Packers football experience has been left intact. It's all here - the brats, the tailgates, the cheeseheads, the party atmosphere in a small town, yet they have a beautifully reconstituted stadium with all the modern bells and whistles to call home.
Let's pose this hypothetical question... "If I am attending a pro football game for the very first time, and I have 32 NFL teams to pick from, where should I go?" The answer from the Ultimate Sports Road Trip: "Green Bay".
RENOVATIONS CONTINUE TO BENEFIT PACKERS
September 25, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers sold the renovation of Lambeau Field to taxpayers by
saying it would help them make more money and keep them competitive in the National Football
Five years after the opening of the $295 million stadium, the plan seems to be working.
The Packers saw their revenue grow in line with expenses, which primarily were driven by
increasingly higher player costs. Revenue last year was $88 million more than the year before the
stadium opened, compared with expenses that were $90 million more.
A 75 percent increase in local revenue, which the Packers do not share with the rest of the
league, is evidence that the new Lambeau Field is doing what then-Chairman Bob Harlan said it
would: generating cash.
"We had projections before the renovation. We've hit those targets and beyond," said Vicki
Vannieuwenhoven, Packers vice president of finance.
In the past six years - going back one year before the renovation was complete - the areas with
the most revenue growth were local sales and marketing ($28.5 million), other NFL revenue ($28.1
million), national television payments ($10.4 million) and home-game receipts ($10.39 million).
The new Lambeau provided the Packers with a 365-day-a-year facility that offers multiple
opportunities for making money, including a much-improved Pro Shop, restaurants, leaseable
space and corporate sponsorships.
In the 1990s, the league strongly encouraged the Packers to improve its facilities, as it did all
"The business model of the league requires these updated, state-of-the art facilities," said Jason
Wied, Packers vice president of administration.
Wied said changes in the business model, at both a national and local level, have created new
areas for generating revenue.
While other NFL teams are not required to divulge their financial information, the Packers, as a
publicly owned company, must do so. The Packers' share of national revenue provides a peek into
the NFL's money-making process in the past six years. The Packers' share of television revenue is
$10 million higher, road game revenue increased $4 million, and other NFL revenue grew by $28.1
million to $32.9 million in 2007-08. The Packers' total of shared revenue for last year was $135.6
Locally, the Packers have made the most of sponsorship and merchandise-sales opportunities,
and they continue to find more ways to make money. For example, two weeks ago, they announced
that Bellevue furniture manufacturer KI bought the rights to appear on the backdrops for news
conferences during road games, an entirely new sponsorship category made possible by the
inclusion of visiting-team broadcast areas in the new stadiums. Associated Bank is the long-time
owner of background rights for Packers home games.
Staying competitive is a moving target, however. Since Lambeau Field was completed, many
other NFL teams have opened or plan on opening new stadiums, which means their local revenue
will increase significantly, too. That will be especially true in the big-city markets, such as New York and Dallas. (Green Bay Press Gazette)
PACKERS DELAY STADIUM WORK
October 16, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - In light of the uncertain economic landscape, the team decided to put off a
$25 million expansion of the Lambeau Field Atrium.
The plan calls for a plaza that would wrap around the atrium to allow for better movement for
fans. It also called for underground parking for players.
Mark Murphy, the Packers' president and chief executive officer, attributed the delay to the
weakened economy as well as a desire to incorporate the idea into longer-term development plans.
"Given the size of the investment, we want to make sure it fits into our long-term master plan,"
he said. "It made sense to put it on hold for a while."
The Packers recently bought a number of properties west of Ridge Road along Lombardi
Avenue with an eye on future development.
Plans for the atrium expansion are drawn, but no supplies or contracts were ordered or signed.
It was expected to begin after the football season, and Murphy still expects it will go forward at some point.
"We'd like to see the project completed," said Patrick Webb, executive director of the Green
Bay-Brown County Professional Football Stadium District. "We think there are safety issues, both
for people going to the game and for the players and parking. We've been suggesting it for several years."
"Until the economy stabilizes, the Packers will remain cautious", Murphy said. (Green Bay Press
December 4, 2008
Copyright 2008 MediaVentures
If you've got some free time and want to pick up some extra holiday cash, the Green Bay Packers
could use your help today in shoveling snow out of Lambeau Field. Up to 300 people are needed to
prepare the venue for Sunday's game. The job pays $8 per hour. (Green Bay Press Gazette)
LAMBEAU FIELD DEBT COULD BE RETIRED EARLY
September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - Better than expected collections from a 0.5 percent sales tax could allow the
Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District to retire debt on the $297 million
renovation of Lambeau Field up to nine years early.
If collections remain on track, the debt will be paid off in 2011. The tax will continue to be
collected and saved for a few more years to bolster a long-term maintenance fund.
September 24, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
The Wisconsin Senate is considering a bill that would allow NFL teams to run red
lights on their way to Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The bill would permit police to escort any
vehicle processions through red lights. Police asked for the bill to clarify whether they could escort
processions through stoplights. So did the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, where Green
Bay Packer opponents stay. The hotel wants the bill to ensure teams get a smoother ride to
Lambeau Field - and keep the teams coming to their hotel. The state Assembly approved the bill in
December 17, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., will go non-smoking next year. The move will affect all
areas of the stadium. The decision will bring the venue into compliance with a state law that bans smoking in public places.
January 21, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay and Brown County expect to receive a report in April that details the economic impact the Packers have on the community. The study has been underway since last summer.
PACKERS CONSIDER LAMBEAU FIELD EXPANSION
May 27, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers are holding focus group meetings to get input on a
possible expansion of Lambeau Field. The venue was last upgraded in 2003 at a cost of $295 million.
“We don't have anything specific that we are ready to discuss,” team spokesman Aaron Popkey said.
However, while the Packers want to hear from fans about their ideas to improve the experience at Lambeau Field, reports say the team's focus is the south end-zone area.
The upper part of the south end zone was left open when the new Lambeau Field was re-dedicated in 2003. At the time, former Packers' president Bob Harlan said he wanted to leave the area open so that the team had more options in the years ahead.
The invitations to attend the focus groups say fans will have the “opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions on possible new seating opportunities at an expanded Lambeau Field. Your feedback and opinions are vital to the planning process and will help shape the future of Lambeau Field for years to come.”
While the Packers are thinking about expansion at the stadium, the franchise continues to talk with community leaders in Green Bay and Ashwaubenon about expansion to the west of the stadium. The Packers own 20 acres in that area.
Two years ago, the Packers unveiled a $25 million plan to renovate the east side of the stadium. The franchise later tabled the plans.
PACKERS MAY ADD STANDING ROOM AT LAMBEAU
June 10, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers are discussing the possibility of adding a
standing-room-only area for games at Lambeau Field.
"We think that might be attractive to our fans," President Mark Murphy said.
Many National Football League stadiums already provide an area for fans to stand and watch
the game, including Dallas, New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Murphy said.
The standing-room-only section could be available to ticket-holders who want to leave their
seats for part of the game but access also could be sold to non season-ticket holders on a game-by-game basis, Murphy said.
Murphy emphasized that it is just one of many ideas the team is considering as part of possible expansion of Lambeau Field and all plans are only in the discussion phase.
Additional seating at Lambeau Field has been the subject of focus groups that the Packers have used to collect feedback on the game day experience and possible changes in the stadium.
Consulting company CSL International met with six groups of 15 people each, with three sessions in Green Bay and three in Milwaukee. People were selected from the team's season-ticket holders list and waiting list.
"We're very proud of the game day experience but it makes us even more cautious to make sure we enhance the good experience," Murphy said. "We want to make sure that whatever we do is something our fans want."
Stadium expansion is just one of the issues the Packers are discussing as the team seeks ways to increase visitor traffic to the area.
Murphy and Vice President for Administration/ Legal Counsel Jason Wied said one of the goals is to help increase the number of visitors to the area from 2.5 million to 7.5 million. The eventual expansion of the entertainment district that surrounds and includes Lambeau Field is a key factor in reaching that goal, they say.
Wied said part of the Packers vision is to focus on supporting youth sports.
"One of the things we hear (in focus groups) is interest in youth sports," he said. "It's not a huge income source but hosting a youth tournament near Lambeau Field would be a great community asset."
PACKERS MAKING PLANS FOR LAND AROUND LAMBEAU
August 5, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers have spent $27 million buying 28 acres of land near
Lambeau Field and those living and working around the venue are waiting to hear what the team has in mind, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Press-Gazette spent six weeks reviewing land records to calculate the Packers' purchases near Lambeau Field. The newspaper also interviewed nearly a dozen officials from area municipalities, the Packers organization and local businesses as well as other people who will affected by the proposed development.
For what the team and local officials are informally calling the Titletown District, the Packers have:
* Purchased 21 parcels of land since 2006 and paid $321,683 in 2009 property taxes.
* Paid about $10 million over the fair market value for the land.
* Retained Hammes Consulting of Milwaukee Ń the same firm that supervised the renovation of Lambeau Field in 2002 - to prepare potential designs for development both west and south of the stadium.
So far, the newspaper said the Packers are saying little about what they'll do with the property, although Murphy said decisions will be made in coordination with Brown County, the city of Green Bay and the village of Ashwaubenon.
Among the possibilities are retail, hotels, restaurants, youth sports and health-care facilities.
"We think this area is prime for development," Jason Wied, the team's vice president for administration and legal counsel told the newspaper, referring to an approximately 300-acre area from U.S. 41 east to Ashland Avenue, with Lombardi Avenue the northern boundary. "It will help us diversify our investments."
He said it is not unusual to purchase property at costs higher than the fair market value because the price is set by market demands.
The Packers organization wants to triple the visitor population in the area that is estimated at 2.5 million per year, Mary Murphy, the team's president told the Press-Gazette. Local revenue generated by the Packers - the Atrium, Pro Shoppe, Hall of Fame - has "flattened out," she said.
"Potential development around the stadium could really help the local economy, create jobs and bring more people to the area," Murphy said.
The Packers used five different limited liability companies to purchase the land. Buying the land using different LLCs allows the team to manage its cash flow by dealing with smaller amounts of property at one time, Wied said.
Larry Weyers, Packers vice president of the Executive Committee and its lead director, agreed that the timing of any development is uncertain and would be done in concert with municipal leaders. However, it's possible that something could happen on that front in the upcoming year, he told the newspaper.
"It's very possible you'll see something this year, but it's not something the Packers can control. But it's going to aid the community as much as it does the Packers," Weyers said.
And municipal leaders are eager to share in the development of a sports and entertainment district.
"Within five years, I think we'll see a lot of activity in the area," Ashwaubenon President Mike Aubinger, who told the newspaper that a priority of the village is to maintain the residential neighborhoods near Lambeau Field.
County Executive Tom Hinz said the entire community has a stake in whatever transpires around Lambeau Field.
"It can't be just a Packer thing because it (development) benefits everybody here," he said to the Press Gazette.
The county owns the Resch Center and Veterans Memorial Arena. The city of Green Bay owns Lambeau Field and its parking lot, leasing it to the Packers.
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt told reporters whatever the Packers decide to do will help the city in its development plans for nearby street construction projects and future businesses on Military Avenue. There are also 13 acres of developable land in the city east of Holmgren Way and west of Ashland Avenue.
"There's support for economic development out there, and we don't want to see just parking lots," Schmitt said. "There's a huge market for youth sports, and that area would be natural for national-type retailers. We're excited about development out there. But we don't know about the financing."
The Packers announced recently that although their overall revenue increased to a record $258 million last year, revenue has grown just 5.5 percent in the last four years while player salaries have increased 11.8 percent. Most of the revenue gains came from the national TV contracts.
"Hopefully we'll be able to develop new revenue sources," Weyers said.
The Packers have been approached about the possibility of building a new Green Bay Bullfrogs baseball stadium near Lambeau Field but have made no commitments, the newspaper reported.
PACKERS PLAN UPGRADES TO LAMBEAU FIELD
September 9, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - New scoreboards and sound systems may be the first phase of a plan by the
Green Bay Packers to increase capacity at Lambeau Field, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy and Jason Wied, vice president of administration,
have put the idea before the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District board, the newspaper reported.
Most of that expansion, which would allow some 7,500 additional fans into the game, including in the stadium's first standing-room-only sections, would be paid for by the Packers. The stadium district, however, has $13 million in legislatively designated capital-improvement money that it can make available to the Packers.
Wied told the newspaper the Packers audio/visual system is 10 years old and has fallen behind the rest of the league. The Packers' lease for Lambeau requires the team to keep the stadium in the top 20 percent of technology in the league.
"At the right time, we want to talk to the stadium district about the capital improvement fund and ... whether (the proposed use) is right for that fund," Wied said.
Murphy said the team is considering a variety of options for the south end zone, but all of the viewing area would be outdoors.
In addition to the additional seating, Wied said the team is studying ways to get people in and out of the stadium more quickly.
September 16, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
The Green Bay Packers have a handful of luxury suites that remain available to buy or rent
during the 2010-11 regular season home schedule, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. With a season-ticket waiting list now in excess of 83,000, the Packers have found that many potential luxury-box customers have assumed there are no suite seats to be had. That hasn't been the case since last season. Nine of the stadium's 168 suites are available, according to the Press Gazette. One-fourth of the suites are leased by individuals, including a few Packers players.
UPDATED STADIUM BOOSTED LAMBEAU'S VALUE TO COMMUNITY
September 30, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The economic impact of the Green Bay Packers and a renovated Lambeau
Field was $106 million greater in 2009 than in 2000, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. The total impact of the NFL team and the year-round facility was $282 million last season,
according to a study released by the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District and reviewed by the newspaper.
"When you look at the incremental impact, that's a good return on your investment," Ann Patteson, chairwoman of the stadium district board, told the newspaper.
Lambeau Field was renovated in 2003 for $295 million. The project was financed in part by a 0.5 percent Brown County sales tax, which is on a trend to be retired in 2015.
AECOM Technical Services of Chicago conducted the study based on 12 questions provided by the stadium district. AECOM collected information throughout the 2009-10 season from fans, businesses and other tourism attractions in the area, as well as from the Packers.
David Stone, associate vice president of AECOM, told the Press Gazette 2009 was a below-average season for conducting the survey because of the recession and the Packers' 6-10 record the previous year. He said the 2000 season, which, adjusted for inflation, was worth $175 million, was probably above average because the Packers were coming off two recent Super Bowl appearances.
The 12 questions posed by the stadium district go beyond normal economic impact studies, especially in allowing for negative as well as positive impacts, he said.
In addition to the total impact of $282 million, which included $124.3 million in wages and 2,560 jobs, the team and stadium generated $15.2 million in tax revenue.
Out-of-county visitors spent $12.3 million per game last year and $7.4 million during preseason. The report only measured spending by out-of-county residents. AECOM said that approach is standard in economic impact research, but it acknowledged that such an approach was likely conservative for Brown County in that the Packers are a more significant part of local sports and entertainment than an NFL team would be in a larger market, such as Chicago.
The stadium district decided in 2008 to commission the study because of persistent questions about the per-game value of the Packers, Patrick Webb, district executive director, told the newspaper.
The survey determined that 87 percent of the more than 729,280 Packers game attendees in 2009 did not live in Brown County, a number that surprised the district. Patteson said they double-checked the result with the Packers, and it seemed reasonable.
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy told the Press Gazette the report will aid the team as it develops plans for additional Lambeau Field improvements and development around the stadium.
Based on game-day attendance, AECOM estimated that adding 10,000 seats to Lambeau Field could result in an additional $17 million per year, or $1.7 million per game. The Packers have talked recently of adding seating to the south end zone.
Respondents also spoke of negative impacts of the 2003 redevelopment. While the majority were satisfied with the result, some business owners said parking and traffic on game days could cause customers to stay away; new restaurants, both in the stadium and because of it, have increased competition, reducing their share of business; and the atrium is taking away some meeting and convention business.
Stone said additional research into the last point found only a few specific instances of identifiable lost business.
"That suggests most events being held at the atrium are new to the market and would not be here except for the presence of the atrium," he said.
The report said 60 percent of atrium event attendees (and 82 percent of training camp visitors) were non-local.
Webb said the 85-page report will cost about $42,000, which will be paid from its capital improvement account funded primarily by excess seat license fees and restricted to certain uses. No sales tax money will be used for the study, he said.
LAMBEAU FIELD DAMAGE RESULTS IN COURT BATTLE
October 28, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The Green Bay Press Gazette says damages of more than $1 million occurred
during the upgrade of Lambeau Field in 2002 and local governments are still in court trying to work out a settlement.
Officials at the state-operated Local Government Property Insurance Fund will not disclose to the newspaper how they ended the legal squabble with construction contractor Spirtas Wrecking Co. - a battle resolved last year through an out-of-court settlement.
Green Bay city records show that Spirtas crews caused damage to city-owned Lambeau Field while demolishing and removing the stadium's old luxury suites in February 2002, the newspaper reported.
According to records at City Hall and in the court case, crews accidentally dropped demolition materials in the stadium's bowl, damaging the arena's structural steel, concrete foundation and bleacher seats.
"It was a pretty big deal," Peter Masias, who was then the city's risk manager, told the Press Gazette. "It actually damaged the structure."
Some closely associated with the $295 million renovation of the Green Bay Packers' home describe the incident to the newspaper as minor, even forgettable.
"I don't think this accident was significant," said Pat Webb, executive director of the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District.
But city records show that repairs continued for about six months and involved at least 30 different bleacher sections in the bowl.
Eric Spirtas, who was president of the St. Louis-based demolition firm at the time, declined to comment on the damage, although he defended his company's work.
The engineering firm of Graef Anhalt Schloemer & Associates produced detailed diagrams pinpointing damage in a March 2002 report, "Lambeau Field Demolition Related Structural Repairs," according to the Press Gazette.
Among the report's findings: 50 instances of structural steel damage, including 21 bent steel beams; three locations found with "structural slab punctured"; 70 instances of concrete damage ranging from small holes to entire walls needing replacement; and hundreds of spectator seats that were scratched, dented, gouged or bent.
Graef engineer Fred Groth told the newspaper project officials at the outset decided against erecting a protective layer of scaffolding over the stadium to prevent such damage. Doing so would have cost more than it took to repair the damages that ultimately occurred, Groth said.
"They knew some of this stuff could happen," he said. "There was a calculated risk taken."
December 9, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
The Green Bay Packers want to replace the scoreboards at the north and south ends of the stadium with state-of-the-art digital screens on par with those in 24 other stadiums, and improve game-related audio in the bowl and club seats, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. The Packers need the approval of the stadium district, both because it is their landlord and because it can help pay for the project. The district has about $13 million for capital improvements provided by personal seat license fees and earned interest. The capital improvement fund includes no sales tax money, Patrick Webb, district executive director, told the newspaper. The screens could cost up to $14 million. According to terms of their lease, the Packers are required to keep Lambeau within the top 25 percent of stadiums in terms of technology. The scoreboards were installed in 2003, when Lambeau Field was renovated. Seventy-five percent of teams have better systems, and those that don't are hoping to build new stadiums, the newspaper said.
BALLPARK PART OF PLANS FOR LAMBEAU FIELD DEVELOPMENT
April 21, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The area around Lambeau Field could be home to a new indoor football
practice facility as well as a ballpark.
Those are among concepts under consideration for a Titletown sports and entertainment district, Green Bay Packers representatives told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers officials have talked in general terms about developing the area around Lambeau Field, but spoke more specifically about those concepts after the newspaper obtained information about the discussions from other sources.
Team officials say they have had discussions with representatives of Brown County, the city of Green Bay and the village of Ashwaubenon, as well as their chief consultant, Hammes Co.
"We do think the area is ripe for development," Jason Wied, Packers vice president of administration and general counsel, told the Press-Gazette.
The Packers would support any project that attracts more visitors to the area, Wied said. He emphasized, however, plans are in early-development stages. The team has not made commitments to any projects, he said.
Among projects under consideration are a multi-use ballpark that could be located in one of several places, a new indoor practice facility that most likely would be in the Lambeau Field parking lot and a hotel that also could be in the parking lot.
The Packers spent about $27 million over the past several years to purchase land near the stadium, much of it west of Lambeau Field along Lombardi Avenue.
The organization wants to develop that area to generate revenue it would not have to share with other NFL teams. The league's revenue-sharing rules allow teams to keep locally generated revenue, and the Packers have said that to remain competitive they must increase those income sources.
Another project that has been discussed is construction of a hotel near the stadium, but Wied said there is concern that, in current economic conditions, it would provide unnecessary competition for existing hotels.
PACKERS CONSIDERING CHANGES IN LAMBEAU
May 12, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers are floating a series of stadium expansion ideas in
the south end zone, including seatbacks, armrests, canopies, premium seating, standing-room-only and loge seating, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
An online survey has been emailed to about 30,000 season ticket holders and waiting-list members and includes 89 questions on seating and cost preferences. The Packers are considering adding as many as 10,000 seats in the south end zone area.
The plans include a variety of outdoor seating ranging from traditional to higher-end premium seats. The team also is considering a new fa¨ade and entry gate on the south side of the stadium that would include elevators to all levels, the newspaper said.
The survey also asks if ticket buyers would be willing to pay a one-time user fee that could go as high as $3,000 for a 10-game package.
Among the proposals on the survey:
* Terrace bleacher seats: End zone bleacher seats would have backrests or be bench seats, and the area would have upgraded food and beverage service. Tickets would be sold on what the survey indicates would be on a season basis, and prices could range from $100 for bench seats to $130 for seats with backrests, up from the current price of $69.
* On the wall terrace bleacher seats: Seats with backrests and arms would be partially covered by an overhead canopy. These seats would be sold on a season basis and also would include standing-room-only platform options. Price options would range from $99 to $143 per ticket.
* Gold level stadium seating: Enhanced seating outside would be protected by the level above. The seats would have back and arms rests, upgraded food and beverage service and wider seats and would be sold on a season basis. Prices would range from $120 to $160 per ticket. These seats also would come with an optional club lounge that could cost $40-$50.
* Green level seats: Exclusive outdoor seats protected from the elements by the level above would have a casual atmosphere. It would include three rows of stadium seating with back and arm rests and high, bench-like tables and have patio space. Tickets would range from $150 to $250 and would be sold on a season ticket basis.
* Loge seating: This area would have a capacity of 200 and three rows of seats, and a minimum of 10-12 tickets would be required. It also would be sold on a season ticket basis, with prices ranging from $400 to $500, the survey indicates.
* Standing room only: An open-air platform beneath the south scoreboard would be sold on a game-by-game basis. Prices could range from $30-$60.
* North end zone club seats: Enhancement of the seats would include a new entry with elevators, rooftop viewing party deck and full food and beverage service. Prices could run between $275-$425.
The survey also asks if ticket buyers would pay a one-time refundable user fee of $3,000 for a 10-game package, $2,100 for the Green ticket package and $900 for the Gold ticket package.
The survey's introduction indicates that the proposed changes "would be unlike any other concepts currently being offered at other NFL facilities."
Reports quote team officials saying that no public money would be used for projects.
SUPER BOWL BOOSTS PACKERS' PROFITS
July 28, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The NFL champion Green Bay Packers reported a profit from operations of
$12 million and that investments helped drive net income to $17.1 million, a $12 million increase over last year, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported. The extra revenues will also make it possible to move ahead with stadium upgrades.
"It appears the Super Bowl trumps the lockout," said team President and CEO Mark Murphy.
The team reported a record $282.6 million in revenue, up from $258 million the year before, and a record $270.5 million in total expenses, up from $248 million.
Profits from operations - total operating income minus total operating expenses - increased from $9.8 million to $12 million, which Vice President of Administration Jason Wied told the newspaper is the key statistic for gauging financial success.
Profit from operations had fallen for three consecutive years, from $34.2 million in 2006-2007 to the $9.8 million last year. NFL officials, including the Packers, attribute that to player costs increasing at a faster rate than revenue under the previous collective bargaining agreement. That led to the league opting out of the labor agreement last fall and imposing a lockout in March.
"We feel we've made some economic gains to address concerns we've seen on our financial statements over the past several years," Murphy said of the new agreement.
Player costs decreased $2 million, to $158 million, in 2010-11. Murphy attributed that to having fewer player expenses in March, when the lockout began. The Packers' fiscal year ends March 31.
The newspaper said player expenses likely will be down next year, too, because the lockout continued for about another four months.
Player expenses include salaries, signing bonuses, health care, retirement plans and other payments to players. The team spreads the cost of signing bonuses over the life of contracts, but otherwise generally accounts for player costs as they arise.
Other highlights noted by the Press Gazette include:
* National revenue increased $6 million. As with the year before, much of that was because of other NFL revenue, mostly the NFL Network, which accounted for $4.2 million of the increase. The national television network contracts provided $96.5 million in revenue, $800,000 more than the previous year.
* Local revenue increased $19 million to $119 million. The area most impacted by the lockout was corporate sponsorships, Weid said. Some prospective sponsors needed more certainty there would be a season before signing agreements.
* The team did not add to its $127.5 million preservation fund Š its savings account Š for the third consecutive year. Because the lockout was settled before the Packers lost significant revenue, the organization also did not have to dip into its savings.
The Packers expect to continue to be a paying team under the league's revised supplemental revenue-sharing plan. The Packers were payers under the old plan, too. Supplemental revenue sharing requires the top-earning teams to provide money to the low-earning teams. The Packers have said being a paying team shows they are making enough money to remain competitive.
Murphy said the team ranked 13th in revenue among 32 NFL teams in 2009-10 and they expect to rank 13th to 15th for 2010-11. Those rankings will be released in fall.
The Packers will likely pay slightly less under the new formula, he said. The team has not released the amount it has been assessed for several years, but it paid $4 million in 2007, after ranking seventh in income.
The 10-year labor agreement will allow the team to proceed with Lambeau Field expansion and development around the stadium with confidence, Wied said.
The team already had announced it would expand the south end zone by as many as 7,500 seats and install new video scoreboards and a new sound system. The sound system improvements are under way. The team wants to break ground in February 2012 to complete the end zone expansion by the 2013 season.
The organization also is exploring plans for development around the stadium. It owns 27 acres mostly west of the stadium along Lombardi Avenue.
Murphy said the Packers can access a new league fund for stadium development for Lambeau projects. That would not include commercial projects that are not a part of the stadium.
Because the Packers came from the sixth seed to win the Super Bowl - only the second team to do so - they played four playoff games, including the Super Bowl, on the road, which was costly. Home playoff games would contribute about $1 million to the Packers bottom line, Vice President of Finance Paul Baniel said.
PACKERS DETAIL PLANS TO EXPAND LAMBEAU
September 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - The Green Bay Packers will add 6,600 seats to Lambeau Field, and the team
will cover related costs and may offer a stock sale to help pay for renovations, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
The team will add two entrances to the stadium, near the north and south scoreboards, in addition to already announced replacements of the sound system and the scoreboards. It will build a viewing terrace for club-seat ticket holders on the north end zone roof.
The total cost will be about $143 million. The combined projects are expected to employ more than 1,600 workers with a combined payroll of $70 million.
"It does keep Lambeau Field up to date," said Mark Murphy, president and CEO, during a news conference.
New seats, to be stacked on four levels over the south end zone, will be offered to existing season-ticket holders first, in order of seniority up to the number of tickets they have now. If they choose to move, season-ticket holders will have to give up their existing seats. Then, all empty seats will be sold to people on the waiting list of 87,000.
The additional seats would increase capacity to 79,000, making Lambeau the fourth-largest stadium in the National Football League.
A rooftop terrace will be built above the north end zone. Club-seat ticket holders will have access to the terrace, which will be available on non-game days for meetings and receptions.
The Packers will replace existing scoreboards with Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video boards. The team already has installed an improved distributed-audio system.
The changes to the stadium won't alter the ticket-lottery program. It makes 4,000 seats available to Brown County residents every year.
The Packers are "fairly far along" on a stock sale, said Jason Wied, vice president of administration and general counsel.
At present, 112,158 shareholders own 4,750,937 shares of stock, which do not pay dividends or increase in value. Ownership is limited to 200,000 shares per individual.
The Packers have scheduled a groundbreaking for the project on Sept. 1. Work will begin immediately, but the bulk will happen during the 2012 and 2013 offseasons. The new seating is scheduled to be available for the 2013 season.
Miron Construction of the town of Menasha will be the contractor.
Miron was a prime contractor on the stadium renovation in 2003. Wied said the project will use as many local workers and subcontractors as possible. Hammes Co. Sports Development of Madison will be project manager, as it was for the 2003 renovation. Elkus Manfredi, a Boston firm, is the design architect.
September 22, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
The Green Bay Packers will hold a stock sale before the end of the year if they receive the
necessary approvals from the NFL. Because the Packers would use money from the sale as they did last time - for physical improvements of the stadium, not operating expenses - they believe they will get NFL approval, Team spokesman Aaron Popkey told the Green Bay Press Gazette. The Packers announced in August $143 million in projects to add 6,600 seats to Lambeau Field and make other improvements. Construction costs will be covered by the Packers and the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District. The project is scheduled for completion before the 2013 season.
PACKERS COULD ADD 7,000 SEATS TO LAMBEAU
September 29, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Green Bay, Wis. - New plans for upgrades to Lambeau Field put the number of new seats
sought by the Packers at nearly 7,000, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported.
In addition to seats in a new south end zone structure, the team may add seats in other parts of
the bowl now taken up by sponsor areas, Vice President of Administration Jason Wied told the Green Bay Brown County Professional Football Stadium District.
At the meeting, district board members approved the $143.3 million expansion and other stadium improvements by the start of the 2013 season. The district is the Packers' landlord.
In addition to the additional seats and previously announced changes, Wied said:
* The team is looking at upgrading and replacing outdoor club seats.
* The new section will have heated concrete to facilitate snow removal. Wied said it would be too difficult to shovel snow from the high-rise section. Instead, it will be melted and drained off. A test section used last winter performed well, he said.
* The Packers are seeking ways to improve cellphone coverage within the stadium during games. The NFL has said that is a problem in stadiums throughout the league.
The team also is looking at providing wireless service within Lambeau.
On another front, the district noted it has set aside $2.4 million to promote non-football events at the stadium, the newspaper reported.
The new Economic Development Fund gives the district flexibility, district executive director Patrick Webb said.
"If we wanted to contribute $100,000 to bring a special event here, it could come out of the Special Events Fund or this (fund)," Webb said. "We don't have a lot of money in the Special Events Fund."
October 13, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
The Green Bay Packers have NFL approval to sell more stock, but an offering still requires a nod from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Appleton Post Crescent reported. The NFL office in New York said Commissioner Roger Goodell has determined the stock sale meets conditions established in 1997, the last time the team sold shares to raise money for stadium renovation. In August, the Packers announced $143 million in projects to add 6,600 seats to Lambeau Field and make other improvements. Construction will be paid for by the Packers and the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District, and is scheduled for completion before the 2013 season.
December 8, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
The Green Bay Packers have begun selling stock in the team for $250 per share, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported. The Packers initially will offer 250,000 shares. They sold about 120,000 shares during the 1997-98 offering, raising $24 million. The organization said shares would be available through Feb. 29 online and through the mail. They can be purchased with credit or debit cards.
March 1, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures
The Green Bay Packers say they sold more than 268,000 shares of stock in their most recent stock offering, raising $67 million dollars to help fund stadium improvements. About half of the sales were in Wisconsin. Illinois and California (including one of the owners of Ballparks.com) tied for second, each accounting for about 8.5 percent of sales. Minnesota and Texas were next with 5 percent each. Each share cost $250, plus handling fees of $25 in the U.S. and $35 in Canada. The shares are essentially worthless, but holders can call themselves team owners and attend the annual stockholder meeting.