News conference highlights (concluded)
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- All seats will have chairbacks.
- More than 83,000 fans on season ticket waiting list; this will help decrease the list.
- Murphy says will create "tremendous homefield advantage" and being built to "maximize crowd noise."
- Worth $11 million for team -- approximately an extra home game.
- Groundbreaking on Sept. 1 but work will really get going after the NFC Championship Game, which Murphy obviously hopes will be held here.
- Packers are funding the project -- no tax money needed.
- Jason Wied with more details ...
- Project built vertically to keep great sight lines ... Wied says "the best" in the NFL because such a "tightly configured bowl."
- Will be fourth- or fifth-biggest capacity in NFL.
- New stock sale is possible, maybe even probable. "Looking very closely at that," Wied said. Need league permission, plus other legal hurdles. Hopes to announce plans over next couple of months.
- Current season-ticket-holders get first dibs on the new seats. Then, to the waiting list to fill new section and the old section to fill seats where season-ticket-holders had moved. So, that's good news for 6,600 people on the list.
- Project will keep team viable for future.
Ann Patteson from stadium district ...
- Worth $1 million per home game.
- Sales tax funded last renovation; this renovation could help end sales tax early.
Murphy fielding questions
- Stock sale: Last sale was 1998. Netted $20 million. "The hope would be at least that much."
- League funding: Stadium credits are available. Up to 1.5 of total revenue league-wide. Going to talk to league about that.
- Stadium intimacy: "I think it's going to make it more intimate." Did couple surveys of fans. "We feel very confident these seats will be very popular." High seats in the end zone are a "great way to watch the game" because you can see the plays develop.
- Every seat will be outside but some will have inside access. Fans wanted to be out in the cold because that's part of the "Lambeau experience."
- Not modeled after any stadium.
- "This stadium is an icon" and wants to make sure it's done "right" and "everything we do is consistent with the current Lambeau Field" and that the south end zone looks like it's always been there.
- Murphy said fourth-biggest capacity in NFL at approximately 79,000.
- Not sure about selling stading room only tickets.
- Metal background on expansion will make "tremendous impact" on crowd noise, Wied says.
- Lots of viewing platforms for people to stand and watch the game; just not sure about selling those as standing-room only.
- Groundbreaking this week; some construction during season but "vast majority" as soon as season ends.
The news release
The Green Bay Packers today announced expansion plans for Lambeau Field, a project that will include approximately 6,600 new seats in the south end zone and a new gate and rooftop viewing platform in the north end zone.
The project, with a projected cost of approximately $130 million, will get underway with a Sept. 1 groundbreaking, and be complete for the 2013 season. The Packers will fund the project, with no involvement of public tax money, including general and sales taxes.
“We’re excited to begin work on the expansion of Lambeau Field,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “This project will benefit the Packers and our fans through two new gates for better stadium entry and exit, additional seats and updated amenities, as well as more gameday crowd noise focused on our opponents. It also will benefit our community, initially through construction jobs, but also in the long term through the increased economic impact of additional fans coming to Packers games each year.”
In the south end zone, the new seats, all with seatbacks, will be added in four levels. General seating will be featured, in addition to themed areas with some indoor concession environments. A new south gate will include four elevators and escalators to efficiently move fans in and out of the stadium.
The north end zone will include a new stadium gate, with six elevators, that will enable club-seat and suite holders to enter and exit the stadium more efficiently and provide an additional ADA entrance and exit point. The project will include construction of a rooftop viewing terrace for use by club-seat holders on gameday, and will be available for special events on other days. Both new gates will lessen the traffic at other gates throughout Lambeau Field and improve the stadium’s overall entrance and exit patterns.
The Packers are arranging to finance all the costs of the expansion, with funding components to include traditional borrowing. A stock sale is being considered, and the team will seek NFL approval for what would be the fifth such offering. With regard to a user fee, the team anticipates a program similar to what was used for the Lambeau Field redevelopment (1999-2003). Additional funding options from the NFL will be explored.
The ticket-pricing structure for the new seating area s is still being established, with the price for seats expected to range between current bowl seat (top price $87) and current club-seat prices (top price $313). A Green and Gold package will be used for most of the new seats, similar to current stadium bowl seats. Some seats will be considered premium and be sold as a 10-game package. Final details of seating sections, including pricing and amenities offered, are expected to be announced after the 2011 season.
Seats will be made available initially to current season-ticket holders, with priority given to those who have held tickets the longest. The number of new seats available will be equal to the number currently held. Those opting for new seats will relinquish their current seats. After that process, members of the waiting list will be approached to purchase any seats remaining in the new sections or seats that have become available in the stadium bowl.
Miron Construction, of Neenah, Wis., has been selected as the general contractor for the project. The company served as the major subcontractor on the Lambeau Field redevelopment project and has thorough experience with the Packers. Hammes Company Sports Development Inc., of Madison, Wis., will serve as project manager and Elkus Manfredi is the project’s design architect.
As an economic impact and benefit to the community, the project is expected to employ approximately 1,600 workers over the next two years and provide more than $70 million in wages. Long term, the additional 6,600 seats will potentially generate approximately $11 million annually in new spending impacts in Brown County from non-residents, according to a study by AECOM released in September 2010 by the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District that projected the impact of additional seating at the stadium.
Previously, the team announced the plan to install new Mitsubishi Diamond Vision video boards, with the new boards to be ready for the 2012 season. This project, with a cost of approximately $12 million, is being funding jointly by the Packers and the Stadium District, through team funding as well as the district’s capital improvement fund consisting of user-fee money. The two parties also funded the new distributed audio system which debuted at Packers Family Night, Aug. 6.
All told, the projects represent more than $143 million of Lambeau Field enhancements and improvements, all funded without public tax money.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.