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Lambeau Expands-Into the Sky

Lambeau Expands-Into the Sky

As a Green Bay Packers shareholder, I feel the need to say the following:

I do not like the Lambeau Field seating expansion that is currently taking place.

Now before anyone thinks I am a non supporting hater of the Packers for saying that, please allow me to explain:

Last week, I wanted to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather the Midwest is experiencing, and decided to take a drive to Green Bay. My intention was simply to visit the Pro Shop, take in lunch at Krolls (which was fabulous, as always) and bum around the stadium area before heading home. A short day trip before going back to the grind the following day.

After walking through the Pro Shop and walking through the Hall of Fame, I felt the need to go on the Lambeau Field stadium tour. It had never occurred to me until this day that for as many times as I had been in the stadium, I had never gone on the tour around the stadium. Being 65 degrees in March, it seemed like a perfect day for than a walk around Lambeau Field, including a trip to the sidelines at field level. Perhaps more importantly, I was interested to see the construction of the new seating area.

My first impression of the new bleachers is that they are going to be tall. I mean reaaaallllllyyy tall. The frame of the bleachers is all that is in place at the moment, but I could start to see exactly how high these new seats are going to be. Sketch photos of what the finished product will look like do not do justice.

Perhaps more importantly, the new seats will take away from closeness to the field that Lambeau is known for, putting some 6,600 fans in the sky, minus the boxes.

The thought that I kept having was how these seats reminded me of the old upper deck at US Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. I had the unfortunate opportunity to sit in these seats for a game many years ago, and while I do not have a picture of just how truly scary these seats were to share, I can sum up the experience in words: imagine sitting many hundred feet above the ground in a seat which is pitching forward, and you have the ultimate sense of vertigo running through every fiber of your body, all the while trying to enjoy a game while enjoying a few ballpark snacks and beverages.

While I am confident that the new seats will not be as gravity defying as the ones at The Cell were, I do think that they are going to be far too high to enjoy the experience that goes along with seeing a game at Lambeau. The closeness to your neighboring fans is one of the unique features of Lambeau, yet it seems like these 6,600 fans will be in their own zip code with how far up they are going to be. Away from the rest of the bowl, these fans will get less than a birds eye view of the field during a game.

Now don't get me wrong, IF I am ever fortunate enough to move ahead of the 79,000 plus currently in front of me on the season ticket waiting list for two of these seats, I will happily accept them. There is nothing better than seeing a game at Lambeau Field. I'll just have to load up on Dramimine before heading into the sky to watch a game in these new seats.

Packers.com has provided a photo gallery of the construction process as of March 17.

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersThad's picture

Great read, John! But did you take any pictures of the framework when you were on the tour? I'd like to see how it currently looks!

JohnRehor's picture

I did, but the sun was hitting the construction area when I was on the tour, so the photo is not very good. Can upload it if you want.

kparis99's picture

I've been keeping up on the construction progress with this live cam...
http://www.packers.com/lambeau-field/construction-cam.html

JohnRehor's picture

Thanks for adding that-good way to show progress so far

Kparis99's picture

I think the new seating section is going to be great, give it a chance. Have you ever sat in the indoor club seats at lambeau? Let me tell you, it was the worst, detached experience that I've ever had at lambeau. This adds new outdoor seats instead of stuffy indoor seats, and lambeau needed to expand for revenue purposes. Also I'm looking forward to the new home field advantage that this will provide in the south end zone. Imagine the sound an extra 6600 fans will make for an opponent trying to score down there. That is what I'm looking forward to!

JohnRehor's picture

I have never sat in the indoor seats-and never would. Besides the money factor, part of the experience of going to Lambeau is to be in the elements with other fans. Sitting in a warm luxury box doesn't appeal to me at all.

I'm all for more fans adding to the home field advantage Lambeau brings. But it just seems to me these seats are going to be a little detached (meaning high in the sky) for my liking

Kparis99's picture

I think we actually do agree. The bowl seats are the best in the NFL, hands down. The box and indoor club seats are terrible. I think the south end zone expansion seats are somewhere in the middle, but much closer to the experience the bowl provides, than the indoor seats. Really, what else could they do? This is the best solution without reconfiguring the bowl. Which they better not ever do!

Bearmeat's picture

I'm glad that they'll be enclosing the bowl. It's going to raise the decibel levels for the opponent exponentially. Plus, getting some of those punks ahead of me off the season ticket waiting list will be nice too. :)

But I agree John, that looks too high... hope it doesn't mar the beauty of Lambeau on a crisp, cool, Fall afternoon.

Church42's picture

"Perhaps more importantly, the new seats will take away from closeness to the field that Lambeau is known for, putting some 6,600 fans in the sky, minus the boxes."

If you don't build vertically, you build horizontally and with the way the south end zone is, you'd probably build horizontally and vertically (just not so drastically vertically)...so I'm fluxomed how close you thought they could get the seats if these seats aren't so vertically built. I'd take the vertical height with as little movement away from the field opposed to building more horizontally (and thus less vertically) and being further away from the field.

Either way, no matter which way you build it, these seats were going to be further from the field regardless.

JohnRehor's picture

My biggest issue is how high they are going to be. Building vertically is fine, but these look like they are going straight up. That is what I don't like. Doesn't follow the arc of the bowl, which i get can't happen naturally when you are building on the outer most part of the stadium.

dullgeek's picture

Looking at the pictures, my reaction was, "Hmm. Their HDTV mount is a wee bit more complicated than mine."

John, you could be right that these seats will provide a fundamentally different Lambeau experience than all the rest. But if you're already deciding that these are going to be a failure, that seems a bit premature to me. $0.02

JohnRehor's picture

Read my response to Kathy below. I might wind up liking them once all is said and done, but at this moment, I think they will take away from the closeness inside the bowl.

When Lambeau was built, the entire population of Green Bay could fit inside the stadium. That was one of the unique features of having a large stadium inside the smallest NFL city. The new section looks like it is going to be a suburb of Lambeau-still really close, but detached at the same time.

Kathy's picture

I agree with Kparis99 about those indoor seats. We won tickets from Citgo one year and were in one of those "party" rooms ...good God it was awful...cut off totally from the noise and the people.
As for the new seationg...give it a chance. So many people want the Lambeau experience that the excitement up there will be great.

JohnRehor's picture

For all I know, I'll love the new seats when they are completed. But right now, they do not appeal to me. At all. I'm a fairly open minded person (although some would argue against that statement) so I'll wait until they are complete to pass final judgement-I may have to actually sit in the new section before my mind is made up. But for now, I'll pass.

Sunnie's picture

I am with you John, I was not a fan of the expansion. I feel like it just wouldn't "fit" right. Part of the Lambeau experience, like you said is the closeness. I love how packed in everyone gets and how close we all are there, I feel that section will take away from it. I have not seen the newest construction, I will try to sneak a peek this weekend.

JohnRehor's picture

I will look forward to your opinion. If you can, post it here so it can follow the thread of comments.

Church42's picture

The only closeness you're losing is the detachment of the new sections from the bowl.

That said, those sitting in the new sections are still going to be packed in together on the same bench seating in the bowl (though I do believe some of the more "premium" seating in those areas will be chair seating)

Pack Morris's picture

I've seen this whole thing go up, and I think it'll be cool. It'll be different, definitely, but the most important thing is how it will make it louder in there.

Regarding the design, the new scoreboard on the north end will be about as high as the new work on the south. I don't think the expansion will be so tall that it will be alienating.

I think it's going to turn out sharp, and some day it'll be strange to think about Lambeau without it. The organization is just too smart to mess this up.

JohnRehor's picture

"The organization is just too smart to mess this up."

This is a valid point. They did not mess up the renovation, so there is reason to think this would not be done if it wasn't discussed in depth. And I will give it an honest opinion once it is complete. But right now, I don't like it. Maybe I'll change my mind. Sure hope so

Church42's picture

I'm really interested in seeing what the SRO section will look like that is reportedly going into the north end zone.

get more's picture

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