Cory's Corner: The Packers must stop Packerpalooza

Quick, what are the two most hated teams in all of sports?

The answer is of course the Cowboys and the Yankees. And the reason is because of in-your-face lavish spending that makes the rest of the NFL and MLB look like a third-world country.

The way the Packers have gobbled up parcels of land to the west, south and east of Lambeau Field is pretty startling. I realize why the team is doing this. They can argue that this is the only way the smallest market in all of pro sports can stay sustainable in a new financial world.

But is this what Curly Lambeau and George Calhoun had in mind when they founded the team in 1919? This began has a familial franchise with very close roots. It prided itself on not having an owner and keeping the community well within reach.

As the Packers get ready to tee it up for its 96th season, the team isn’t just dominating on the field. They are also winning at the negotiation table by acquiring more than 60 properties in an excess of 65 acres.

The equation is simple. Turn Lambeau Field into a destination 12 months of the year with hotels, restaurants and plenty of shopping. Make fans and even non-fans descend on the tourist trap and lure them into spending a boatload of money before packing their bags.

The loser in all of this are the bars, restaurants and hotels on the periphery of the Packers’ gigantic money-printing extravaganza. Those are the same bars and restaurants that depend on the Packers. From August-January, those establishments make enough to look forward to another fruitful training camp.

There’s no way that Anduzzi’s Sports Club, Stadium View Bar & Grill and The Bar will make it without some creative thinking when the Packers finish commercial construction. All three establishments are within a whisper of each other and most fans use one or a combination of all three as a gameday tradition.

The more the Packers buy up property with aspirations of becoming bigger, the more they start to resemble the Cowboys and Yankees. That may sound like nails on a chalkboard but it’s true.

The NFL is different because there is actually a hard salary cap. That’s what has given the Packers a chance against the big boys from Dallas, Washington and New York. That’s what has allowed the Packers to pay and retain Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

So I ask you, how much is too much? When do the Packers stop? Do they stop when the soon-to-be-released redevelopment is finished? Or do they continue buying up parcels of land until it’s a virtual Packerpalooza?

Like I said, I understand how important it is to stay competitive in an ever-changing NFL that breathes money. But for the time being, the TV cameras and fan attendance aren’t going away. This is the strongest sport going right now. It outdraws itself every Super Bowl in the ratings, and more people are now watching pro football three days a week.

Lambeau Field is already a castle. It’s the best place to watch a game followed by Notre Dame Stadium. There’s no need to build a moat around it and turn it into a mini-Las Vegas — which is part fantasy and part excess.

Sometimes too much makeup on a model can be seen as ugly. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (15)

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Bearmeat's picture

July 04, 2015 at 07:15 am

meh.

The Yankees and Cowboys are most hated because they have or had butthole owners who couldn't get enough of the media spotlight on them IN ADDITION to outspending everyone.

The Pats are hated. But it's not because of 1 Foxborough Place, which is a year round Pats tourist trap. It's because the Pats coach is an AHole and they have stretched the rules or cheated since 2007.

Let the Packers improve their facilities. They can offer better facilities with more to do than a mom and pop bar (as nostalgic as they are). I welcome the ALL-PACKERS-ALL-THE-TIME fiasco. It's fun.

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Lphill's picture

July 04, 2015 at 07:40 am

Being a New Yorker and a Yankees fan I never felt the Yankees were hated other than from Mets fans and I think Jeter and Rivera may have soothed other fans , both were class acts , I have been to Lambeau and all the spots mentioned and I don't feel expansion will change anything , Packer fans are the most loyal fans in sports and will adjust to anything.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 04, 2015 at 08:46 am

Left out Red Sox,

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John Galt III's picture

July 04, 2015 at 05:59 pm

Being a New Yorker (Manhattan) and having been born before you and having watched the Dodgers at Ebbets Field and the Giants and the Mets at the Polo Grounds (Mets were there before Shea was built) I can tell you the Yankees were hated BIG TIME by a lot of people I grew up with.

As far as the Packers are concerned in making the team and its stadium a year around attraction, I say go for it. I mean I've eaten at the Brett Favre Steakhouse, but we take in restaurants all over Green Bay. I see nothing incredibly special about the ten or so blocks in any direction from Lambeau and if people want to sell their dirt it's still a free country to do so on this and to this on our Independence day.

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WKUPackFan's picture

July 04, 2015 at 08:21 am

I share Cory's concerns here, a glitzy development doesn't seem to fit the Packers or the Green Bay mystique. I felt that Churchill Downs here in Louisville lost a lot of charm during a recent renovation.

However, this is mainly an issue for the local folks. Would love to hear more of thier opinions.

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Dan Stodola's picture

July 04, 2015 at 07:02 pm

Having been born and lived in GB for 30 yrs until the past decade or so, I can say I am Very Happy what the Packers are doing. The entire rest of my family still lives in GB and suburbs and I visit at least once per year, and I have heard of no one who isn't happy about it.

The simple truth is w/o the Packers Green Bay would likely be another Detroit. All it had other than the Packers was paper mils. Now GB is a thriving metropolitan area, thanks largely to the Packers. It has gone from being only blue collar mill workers to vast inhabited by upper middle class white collar families.

The Packers have only done things the right way for almost the entirety of my life, except when the mom and pops on the BOD were involved in football decisions. GB is a thriving community thanks to the Packers and everything they do for GB.

As for the bars in and around Lambeau, the fans on Packer Sundays still go there in droves and w/ the expansion of the stadium district they will only continue to grow and thrive.

Seems the author of the article is afraid of change and wants to keep the Packers a mom and pop corporation, in which case we might very well revisit the 70's and 80's.

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WKUPackFan's picture

July 05, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Thanks Dan! As long as the local folks are for it I'm all in.

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Big T's picture

July 04, 2015 at 08:22 am

Might as well whore it up while you can. Goodell is going to destroy the NFL as we know it anyway.

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Guisado's picture

July 04, 2015 at 08:33 am

"Must" is a strong word for a title. And I totally, but respectfully, disagree with the premise. The Packers should not be afraid of success. The expansion around Lambeau isn't a Green Bay thing, it's an NFL thing. The Packers are merely keeping up (and ahead) of the burgeoning league.

As the great philosopher Andy Defresne said, "I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying."

And I'm not in the least bit worried that people will start to despise my team. You can't please them all. As long as Steinbrenner or Jerry Jones doesn't become the face of the franchise, I think we're ok.

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 04, 2015 at 10:18 am

" But is this what Curly Lambeau and George Calhoun had in mind when they founded the team in 1919? "

You mean survive,endure,remain,adapt,grow,become relevant,succeed?

I would venture a guess that Curly Lambeau and George Calhoun would be very accepting of what has become of and the steps being taken to ensure the legacy of the Packers.After all,isn't this what they envisioned when they undertook the feat with very incredible odds against them and forged what is the success of Green Bay Packers and the community to date!?

Ron Wolf knew that Green Bays existence may very well be decided if getting Reggie White failed.Sure the fan base was there in a town of 70,000 ,but with how the NFL was growing,GB needed to become attractive and signing White and then having the pay off success of Favre when much was riding on MagicMan before his career ending injury and Packer hopes of relevancy crashing with the 70's and 80's a possible continuing saga into the 90's.

Fans of the Packers today could be nothing more than a step above Jacksonville on the map that is the NFL today in the over all scope with a national game on TV being a game of chance based on schedule and hopes of playing a 'contender' and announcers mentioning how 'quaint' Green Bay has remained.

GB needs to be a constant visual and in demand in the NFL's eyes and not just those of the locals and need to take a constant bite of the big dogs ass and not be bitten instead.

Will unending growth be the destruction of the NFL..perhaps,but I rather the Packers be part of that ride and a strong member when implosion happens and not be an already distant memory for failing to grow with it.

As for the small businesses,smart ones know that the growth in success of the actual bread winner should never be taken as a free pass or extension of life for their business...as one grows big others must perish especially when you root and cheer for their success and are across the street.

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4thand1's picture

July 04, 2015 at 11:07 am

Lambeau and the Packers are one of a kind in all of sports. I have a brick outside and a share of the franchise. I love giving it to my fellow lion,viking, and bears fans and friends. It kills em when I say my team won. The usual comeback is,"you don't own shit!" Oh yeah, I have the document to prove it. Going to a game is fantastic. I've been to other sporting events and they don't come close to a Packer game at Lambeau. Keep up with the times and keep winning. Eventually we'll have a lot of haters , and it will because we'll be winning. I'll take that any day.

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John Galt III's picture

July 04, 2015 at 06:01 pm

You nailed it.

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Mojo's picture

July 04, 2015 at 11:38 pm

The Packers need to strike now while the irons hot. We’ve had over two decades of mostly success and there’s no guarantee it will continue. They been able to add to their rainy day fund and resign their best players without worrying about funding. Seems like a good thing to me.

The Packers don’t have a tech billionaire owner to underwrite expenses when things go south. I want them to access additional revenue streams. I want this team to be viable for the next 100 years.

I’m a little surprised you listed Lambeau as the best place to watch a game. According to your logic they should be playing at the old quaint East High version of City Stadium. Better yet, Hagemeister Park. It appears like a contradiction to me for you to love Lambeau considering all the aggressive renovations they’ve made to it recently.

And don’t evoke Lambeau and Calhoun as people who would be against this. Lambeau had to beg, steal and borrow to keep this team going. He, more than anyone would be delighted in the fiscal strength this franchise currently enjoys. Lambeau or Calhoun weren’t always as sentimental as you might think. When the nascent professional football league was beginning to get a bit more competitive, the Packers brass at the time had no problem dumping much of the locals in favor of national talent.

I think when the Packers announce some of their expansion plans at the upcoming shareholder meeting we’ll find them respectful to the tradition of the team. There will still be some of the old venues for fans to frequent, as well as new ones around the enlarged footprint. Don’t worry, the Mom and Pop establishments will always be a part of the neighborhood experience. They’re no reason they can’t coexist.

Vive la Packers!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 05, 2015 at 12:43 am

Good grief. I believe in capitalism. Andruzzi's, Stadium View, and The Bar will have to compete. If Green Bay constructs ritzy places designed to suck up all of its fans money, those aforementioned places will have a niche. In any event, they have to adapt in order to compete with whatever changing circumstances may occur in the future. That is the way it should be. The packers' are a non-profit, and do donate a lot of money each year to charity. If these additions improve their fiscal position, then it helps guarantee the long term financial ability of GB and should be reflected in greater acts of charity. Not sure how well Andruzzi's and the others would do if the packers go bust, but I'm guessing it would hurt their business. And I'm guessing that those businesses aren't non-profits, though that means less than it used to since being a non-profit doesn't mean that the folks who control a non-profit aren't making out like bandits.

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Steve Cheez's picture

July 05, 2015 at 01:45 pm

Great opportunity for Kroll's to move out here to Stockton, CA!

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