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Packers’ stadium upgrade underscores importance of issue

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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?

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27 Responses to “Packers’ stadium upgrade underscores importance of issue”
  1. ShimSham says: Jul 4, 2012 12:05 PM

    Bleachers make it easier to shovel snow off of (which fan volunteers do) and they allow for more people to fit into the stadium. It’s not just historic charm.

  2. binkystevens says: Jul 4, 2012 12:06 PM

    Never lose the bleachers. Despite what our friend above argues.

  3. turtlehut says: Jul 4, 2012 12:06 PM

    If the Packers follow the Colt’s lead at Lucas Oil Stadium, the screens will be quite large, but 50% of the space will be for paid advertisements.

  4. PackersHome.com says: Jul 4, 2012 12:11 PM

    This petty gripe about bleacher seeing is weak. None of the stadiums I’ve been in, nor arena’s had a seat more comfortable than any home I’ve been in.

    Perhaps the bleacher seats are kept because the Packers want their fans on their feet, not their asses?

  5. contra74 says: Jul 4, 2012 12:19 PM

    PackersHome.com says:
    Jul 4, 2012 12:11 PM
    This petty gripe about bleacher seeing is weak. None of the stadiums I’ve been in, nor arena’s had a seat more comfortable than any home I’ve been in.

    Perhaps the bleacher seats are kept because the Packers want their fans on their feet, not their asses?
    —-
    Have you the size of the women in Wisconsin? It’s not like they have a choice with the bleachers. They’re needed so the “average” packer fan can have a place to graze, I mean, sit.

  6. dirtmcgirt24 says: Jul 4, 2012 12:25 PM

    I pay for season tickets for my team so I can watch 22 guys play a game. Plenty of entertainment for me. I hope the fantasy fans stay home, as I can no longer tolerate sitting next to someone at a game talking about how many “points” Ray Rice scored for “his team” that he probably paid $50 for and considers it the most important investment in his life.

  7. gibbstastic says: Jul 4, 2012 12:27 PM

    In Buffalo, i believe they still have bleachers in the 300 level. Last time I was there anyways. And of course, the 300 level was the most rowdy. Then again, 100/200 was more businesses and families. And 300 had a more of a college lifestyle in general.

  8. crash601 says: Jul 4, 2012 12:36 PM

    Lambeau Field is unique in many ways- most of them positive. I think Florio must have been low on his Packers post quota so he threw this mess together. Yes, the bench seats make snow removal practical- sometimes even possible at all during Wisconsin winter. Absolutely- there are more potentially comfortable solutions for parking your six. But until you have parked your six on a bench seat in Lambeau and experienced a Packers game, you just won’t understand how little it matters what kind of seat you’re not sitting in very much anyway.

  9. noeffinway says: Jul 4, 2012 12:49 PM

    Hey maybe now, by looking at the replays on the new big screens, the refs will be able to get a call right at Lambeau…the officiating, especially in the Lions game, was terrible! Biggest home field advantage in the league.

  10. roadbiscuit says: Jul 4, 2012 1:03 PM

    You don’t put butt cuddlers in an open air stadium in Wisconsin unless you have no common sense.

  11. duluthvikesfan says: Jul 4, 2012 1:06 PM

    Even as a life long Vikings fan I have to admit the entire Lambeau Field experience is really amazing. Everything from the small town neighborhood feel to the bleachers help to make it a great experience. Adding the jumbo screens will make it even better.

  12. vincespowersweep says: Jul 4, 2012 1:41 PM

    As a life long Packer fan and a longtime season ticket holder, I have to agree with Florio. The bleachers are the one thing I hate about Lambeau. Even though the check I write for my tickets seems to get larger every year, I would gladly pay more if it gave me seats instead of the bleachers. Sadly, I will probably never see it in my lifetime. Nostalgia and tradition aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

  13. nickabocker says: Jul 4, 2012 3:56 PM

    I was just at Lambeau last week and took the stadium tour. If they switched from bleachers to box seats, they would lose roughly 8,000 seats. That is why they will never change to box seats. Seats are currently 18″, box seats are 24″ This according to the tour guide.

  14. thepvyharvin says: Jul 4, 2012 4:01 PM

    Already trying to play “measure the weenie” with the Vikings,,,sorry,our new stadium will render yours an outdated relic. Bleachers will always be in Lamblow. Even the Packer fan men have asses like Aunt Jemima..

  15. packercpa says: Jul 4, 2012 4:17 PM

    Well Contra nice to see you have nothing to do but make a stupid comment on a Packer article. And your comments are so original. Lets see, now why don’t you mention about the worthless piece of paper Packer fans own, how all we do is drink.

    Stay on your own team’s posts and use your wit for the Vikings new stadium shortcomings.

  16. i10east says: Jul 4, 2012 4:18 PM

    Will Lambeau spark an ‘Oriole Park in Camden Yards syndrome’ with many of the other NFL stadiums possibly getting retrogrades, to enhance the charm, nostalgia, and gameday atmosphere? It works for GB so why not the rest of the league?

  17. axespray says: Jul 4, 2012 4:36 PM

    meh, I like the ancient rome feel to ‘em… that Gladiator like vibe… All we need is a dude in a robe tossing Cheese Burgers at the Stands.

  18. cobaltdriver says: Jul 4, 2012 4:49 PM

    Have you the size of the women in Wisconsin? It’s not like they have a choice with the bleachers. They’re needed so the “average” packer fan can have a place to graze, I mean, sit.

    No ,but I have seen the Moose in Minnseota..good thing they are expanding their stadium

  19. vahawker says: Jul 4, 2012 5:11 PM

    Or….reduce the ridiculously high price of tickets so that the average family can afford to go to a game. If they can buy canyon sized TV screens, they can afford to drop the ticket prices. But…maximizing their $$$ is the first priority(it is a business), not the fan.

  20. beerbratscheese says: Jul 4, 2012 5:32 PM

    I really don’t care how big the TV is at the stadium. I’m old enough to remember going to games before they had any kind of Jumbotron. I went because I wanted to watch live football, not football on a huge screen. Now, I understand replays and all that, so I think it’s cool that they’re there.

    But if you really want to draw more interest in filling up stadiums, here’s a thought: LOWER THE FREAKING PRICES!!!! The NFL would be amazed at how many people would go to games it they could actually afford to go.

  21. popelava says: Jul 4, 2012 7:32 PM

    3rd generation season ticket holder here, the one and only thing that kills the packer game experience for me is the fact that we have bleacher seats. every year every game you have to constantly fight to get your actual seat each time you stand up to cheer then sit down again. on either side of you, these big fat people end up either sitting on your lap or their butts cover half your seat. just like on airplanes if your too fat to fit into the “one” seat you paid for you should buy two seats or stay home. i would pay $10k psl just to have installed seating. the bleachers are terrible, fat people should stay home or pay for two seats.

  22. calvinhobbes5000 says: Jul 4, 2012 10:14 PM

    As someone who was born and raised in Green Bay and has seen a significant number of games in Lambeau Field, the screens were in dire need of replacement. They were so blurry you couldn’t even read players numbers. Watching replays was pointless because you couldn’t see anything anyway.

    I also agree about the bleachers. When I went to my first game as a kid, I didn’t mind them at all. But once you get old, the bleachers wreck havoc on your butt, back, and other body parts.

  23. gtodriver says: Jul 5, 2012 7:32 AM

    @popelava, calvinhobbes5000, vincepowersweep…

    A few honest Packer fans…;)

    When you’ve paid your PSL’s and the season ticket prices – one should expect to have a reasonably comfortable seat that is your’s and your’s alone.

    “If they switched from bleachers to box seats, they would lose roughly 8,000 seats. That is why they will never change to box seats. Seats are currently 18″, box seats are 24″ This according to the tour guide.”

    It’s a fact that there are many Packer fans that can’t fit into an 18″ seat.

    That’s probably why there has never been a complete sellout of 100% of the seats at Lambeau Field (check the official attendance at NFL.com or ESPN.com) – they can’t fit the number of fans into the stadium to match the stated capacity.

    Last year the average paid attendance at Lambeau Field was 70,512 – stated capacity is 73,128.

  24. stavreafavre says: Jul 5, 2012 3:56 PM

    There are plenty of fans everywhere who can’t fit into 18″ seats, particularly in the Southern states. Not sure why Wisconsin is singled out.

  25. nickabocker says: Jul 5, 2012 4:32 PM

    thepvyharvin says: Jul 4, 2012 4:01 PM

    Already trying to play “measure the weenie” with the Vikings,,,sorry,our new stadium will render yours an outdated relic. Bleachers will always be in Lamblow. Even the Packer fan men have asses like Aunt Jemima..

    No. Not playing “measure the weenie” with the Vikings. What you Viking fans seem to forget is we in Green Bay don’t consider it a rivalry until you can actually build a trophy case and put something in it.

  26. vijayswearingen says: Jul 6, 2012 1:03 AM

    If you are ever lucky enough to get seats to a game in Lambeau Field you will undoubtedly experience that feeling of of stadium euphoria that only few can boast about (Fenway Park is another example). Whether you are a fan of the Packers or their opposition, the fans there are generally more than hospitable and it truly does feel like one gigantic family is watching the game along side of you.

  27. vijayswearingen says: Jul 6, 2012 1:04 AM

    If you are ever lucky enough to get seats to a game in Lambeau Field you will undoubtedly experience that feeling of stadium euphoria that only few can boast about (Fenway Park is another example). Whether you are a fan of the Packers or their opposition, the fans there are generally more than hospitable and it truly does feel like one gigantic family is there watching the game along side of you.

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