The Packers’ effort to make the in-stadium experience better than the TV-at-home experience will include, like more and more teams are doing, bringing a TV bigger than most people’s homes to the stadium.
Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy recently explained in an interview with WTMJ the Lambeau Field upgrades, with an eye toward persuading people to always want to be present for games.
“[W]hen they see the scoreboards – I really think they’re going to be blown away,” Murphy said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s four times the size of the boards we had; and the clarity and definition is just phenomenal. It’s really going to change the experience the fans have.”
The fact that the Packers are willing to make such dramatic changes when they boast an 83,000-plus waiting list demonstrates the importance of finding ways to make fans choose the collective football experience over the more intimate man-cave setting. The Packers see what’s happening elsewhere, and they know they need to stay ahead of the curve, or that the waiting list will evaporate, quickly.
“In some ways, we’re our own worst enemy,” Murphy said. “The experience at home in front of the TV is so good. With HD, the Red Zone channel, the Sunday Ticket and the popularity of fantasy football, more and more fans are staying at home. What we really need, and what we’re focusing on is making that experience in the stadium really special; and I think we have it at Lambeau Field.”
The team’s who-moved-my-cheesehead strategy leads to obvious question. At what point will the Packers see fit to ditch the old-school bleachers and replace them all with individual seats? Though it would be easy to take the position that the bleachers are part of the nostalgic charm of Lambeau Field (and they are), the technological advancements soon will make those metal planks stand out like a thumb sorer than the asses that sit on them.
If the goal is to make the experience better than being at home, the place where the human butt is parked should at least be more comfortable than watching the Super Bowls from a rolled-up towel on a hardwood floor.
And if the answer is that fans will fill the place up even if they have to sit on screws, then why bother at all to make the place feel more like being at home?