More Than Just Seating Inevitable In Lambeau Field Expansion

When the Packers choose to expand the south end zone area, entertainment value will likely take priority.

The fire was stoked regarding possible Lambeau Field expansion this past Friday when the Business Journal of Milwaukee, and in turn ProFootballTalk, revisited the topic.

The subject came to light in late May/early June when it was learned the Packers were conducting focus group surveys with season ticket holders and those on the waiting list about what fans would like to see as part of any expansion project. Any such undertaking would focus on the south end zone area, a portion of the stadium that is not enclosed by club seating and luxury suites.

The possibilities discussed in the focus groups were numerous and varied. Some options included adding as many as 8,000 more seats with a combination of both indoor and outdoor seating. Some of the more creative options included a Bavarian-style brew pub, a sports bar-like enclosed restaurant, a play-zone with pool tables and arcade games, a standing room only section, and Wrigley Field-esque rooftop seating.

A online poll conducted by JSOnline found out that readers preferred the simple large seating area by a large margin garnering 53% of the vote. The next closest was the beer garden-style setting with 16%.

Despite the call for more utilitarian seating, a more entertainment-oriented option is the more realistic option the Packers are likely to choose. That's not to say some seating won't be added, but look for a more amusement park-type atmosphere to take precedence.

Those within the Packers front office have said it's their goal to bring in 5 million more visitors per year to Lambeau Field, according to Tony Walter of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

"[Packers president Mark] 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," writes Walter. "The eventual expansion of the entertainment district that surrounds and includes Lambeau Field is a key factor in reaching that goal, they say."

The development of what some have dubbed "Lambeau World" will help pull in visitors, but in order to make the jump to 5 million more visitors on an annual basis, there's going to need to be something to pull those out-of-towners into Green Bay.

A sports bar not unlike that of Friday's Front Row Grill located in the Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park would seem to be a logical choice. For one, it's something that would not only be used on game days but having a restaurant that overlooked Lambeau Field would be an attraction 365 days of the year. And because it's enclosed, it would be a year-round destination.

Another smart-money  selection would be roof-top seating because no construction would have to be done to the Lambeau bowl. A nearby building could easily be erected somewhere outside the south end zone overlooking the stadium. And within that building could be housed whatever the Packers wanted, be it dining, a hotel or some other brainchild. Esentially, it would kill two birds with one stone.

Expansion may not happen immediately, but it's coming. And with it will be coming a destination in the same vein of Jerry Jones' Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

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Comments (13)

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Franklin Hillside's picture

July 07, 2010 at 01:42 pm

Bigger is not always better.

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maxginsberg's picture

July 07, 2010 at 02:03 pm

You're just teeing it up, aren't you Franklin?...I'll resist this time. I'll save the inappropriate comments for your website.

Most of the die hard fans could care less about expansion because they actually (gasp) watch the entire game in their seats! That said, it's a business, and naturally, the Packers are always looking to bring in more revenue. You can't blame them, and if expansion allows for more people to watch their beloved Packers, I say expand away.

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IronMan's picture

July 07, 2010 at 02:08 pm

"Bigger isn't always better"

True. But the 2003 expansion is why Green Bay still has a team. (God bless Bob Harlan for this)

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Asshalo's picture

July 07, 2010 at 03:38 pm

It would be nice if they did at least 8,000 more season ticket options, but have smaller season ticket packages so more fans could have a chance to be season ticket holders. My family has been on the list since the mid 80s. I'm thinking A (2 games + 3 games + 3 games), B (2 games + 2 games + 4 games), rather than the 6 and 2 game packages.

Don't get me wrong it's nice that tickets stay in families, but I feel like there's more incentive to sell your tickets on-line when you have 6 games a season.

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Jack's picture

July 07, 2010 at 10:29 pm

You want some of my season tickets? You're gonna have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands. And then my family will kill you.

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Asshalo's picture

July 11, 2010 at 05:39 pm

Don't know what you're talking about. That's not what I was saying.

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c.d. angeli's picture

July 07, 2010 at 05:18 pm

Reality is, Asshalo, I'm at #31,000 and adding 8,000 seats won't do much for me or about 82,000 other folks on the list. So, while I'd be on the vote for more simple seating, the reality is that I might have more of a chance to get inside Lambeau with one of the other more creative ideas.

The one thing I hope it does NOT become is more luxury box/business-oriented space that the common man has little chance of seeing except on a tour. One thing that I found out on my last tour in May is that the waiting list for the luxury boxes has run out completely and they are now renting them out by the game to whomever would like them.

A sign of the economy, indeed, and something likely to turn around...but it is a good lesson to remember as they expand: put the seats in the hands of the common man and they will continue to sell out no matter the economy.

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Asshalo's picture

July 07, 2010 at 06:37 pm

8,000 seats multiplied by 3 season tickets packages is 24,000 seats for additional season ticket holders-- meaning there would be 6,000-12,000 added season ticket holders (assuming 2 to 4 tickets per pack). And that increases more with more seats added beyond. Realistically Lambeau could add about 20,000 seats and still do fine (Camp Randall's capacity being a model). Also consider that not all 81K names are going to pay up when push comes to shove.
No, It's not much considering there are 81,000 on the list, but it's something.

It's complicated by the task of adding and/or remodeling certain parts of the stadium. Renovations are always expensive, so there is going to be an optimal level for renovation expenses and expansion revenues.

So far packer fans and season ticket holders have done a pretty good job of keeping the corporate crowd out in large part to the loyalty of the fan-base. I remember the schlacking dallas gave them at home 2008. I was truly impressed with how many people stayed for the fourth quarter and how little dallas fans there were.

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Satori's picture

July 07, 2010 at 05:41 pm

Great comments CD, the common man is who built this League and the common man is the one to sustain it.

The NFL got all out of whack as soon as they started to cater to the high- end big dollar fans. Then the economy tanked and the League found out just how fickle the high end clients can be. ( and so did the Packers as the luxury box surplus shows.)

Cater to the crowd who made this league a success through thick and thin- that is the demographic that will keep GB viable into the next century.

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Asshalo's picture

July 07, 2010 at 06:42 pm

The boxes at Lambeau always seemed like a catch 22 to me because you're not out in the cold screaming with the rest of the fans. Here's an idea: Replace the boxes with bleacher seating.

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willis's picture

July 07, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Let's go Bigger than the Big House! In some ways I think of the Packers as the most college-like team in the pros (meant as a compliment) because of the passion, tradition, and small-town sense. I think replacing (some, not all) would be too expensive so early after renovation, but if we have a surplus then that would be pretty cool eventually. We should have 2 Large HD screens and a new sound system by now.

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jerseypackfan's picture

July 07, 2010 at 09:03 pm

I`m all for expanding Lambeau to 100,000 seats.

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Dayne's picture

July 08, 2010 at 07:12 am

I hope they add 25,333 seats with this renovation. ;)

I've been on the list since 1987 (Thanks Mom & Dad) and I'm still waiting. I'd sit in row 200 for season tickets at Lambeau.

Make Lambeau hold 100,000 as Jersey Packer Fan says. I'm all for it.

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