Packers cut ribbon on latest renovations
Brian Miller with Mike Conroy and Jay Sorgi
New gate at Lambeau Field opens.
GREEN BAY-- Gov. Scott Walker joined Packers brass, including President/CEO Mark Murphy to cut the ribbon on the new 7,000-seat stadium expansion and Shopko Gate at Lambeau Field Thursday.
The new entrance for fans is part of the $143 million renovation project. Construction began a year and half ago.
With a clip of a scissors, Murphy opened up the new south end zone seating section, and new ticket holders were on hand to see the renovations for themselves.
"We've got something amazing that is a world class attraction," said Gov. Walker. During the ceremony, Walker took time to rip the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings while calling the Packers' renovated digs a "Mecca" for football fans.
Following the ribbon cutting, the team provided fans the chance to check out those new seats for the first time during the "Meet Your Seat" event at Lambeau.
Ticket holders to the new sections would get access to take a tour of the renovations and sit in their seats while watching Packers game highlights on the stadium's jumbo video screens.
Harry Mares had to wait 37 years on the season ticket waiting list before his chance came today to finally claim his seat.
"This is beautiful. You talk about a field of dreams."
Murphy knew with the expansion, many die-hards like Mares would get that chance to own season tickets.
"I think at one point, we were at 106,000 on the waiting list. We're down 3,800 now, a little bit of a dent, but I think it speaks to the support of our loyal fans," said Murphy to TODAY'S TMJ4's Lacey Crisp.
The team is reinvesting some of its record profits from the last few seasons into renovating the stadium and increasing its capacity.
Lambeau Field now boasts the third-largest regular seating capacity in the league, with seats for about 80,000 fans. (Cowboys Stadium can be expanded from its current configuration to a capacity beyond Lambeau's, as it did when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV there.)
Team leaders say the renovations will help the team continue to be successful financially and bringing more fans to the stadium district will boost the local economy by about $12 million each season.