Packers to add 6,600 seats to Lambeau Field
the WTMJ News Team and the Associated Press
Diane Pathieu reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
GREEN BAY - There's good news for the 81,000 fans on the waiting list for Green Bay Packers season tickets.
The team said Thursday it plans to add about 6,600 new seats at Lambeau Field, and in good news for taxpayers, the team says it will fund the $130 million project itself.
"We will not request or need any tax money," said Packers President Mark Murphy.
The team said it was considering raising money through a stock sale, which would be the team's fifth. Green Bay is the NFL's only publicly owned team.
"We think this will create a tremendous home field advantage. All of these seats will be outside, and we're building it and designing it to maximize crowd noise."
The seats will be in four levels in the south end zone. The prices haven't been set yet but are expected to range between the current cost for bowl seats, where the top price is $87, and club seats, where the top price is $313.
The project also includes a new rooftop viewing terrace that club-seat holders can use on game days, along with new gates, elevators and access points for people with disabilities.
Once completed, Lambeau Field would become the fourth-largest stadium in the NFL, seating about 79,000 fans.
The project will also allow for an increase in jobs for the area and an increase in revenues for the team.
"$70 million in wages during the construction, and on an annual basis, it will have an annual impact of $11 million," explained Murphy.
"That's roughly adding adding an additional home game."
The new seats will be distributed through a seniority system. Current season-ticket holders will get first access, with a chance to trade their existing seats, and priority goes to those who have held tickets the longest.
After that, fans on the waiting list will finally get a chance they've spent decades waiting for.
This project will expand Lambeau Field to about three times its original capacity. The stadium opened in 1957, with a capacity of slightly more than 32,000 fans.
Last month, Packers officials highlighted the team's strong financial performance in 2010-11. The team reported a $12 million profit from operations for 2010-2011, up $2.2 million from the previous year. The overall net income was $17.1 million -- a jump of nearly $12 million over last year, due in large part to improved performance by investments.
The most recent addition at Lambeau was a $295 million project that began in 2001 to add 12,032 seats as well as the popular atrium, an expanded Pro Shop and several new food and entertainment options. The project included a half-cent county sales tax to raise $160 million and made 4,000 tickets per game available to county residents only beginning in 2003.
That tax is set to expire in the next several years, depending on the economy.