When the Packers talked earlier this year about the importance of making the in-stadium experience more compelling despite having a season-ticket waiting list that rivals the population of the city where they play, we had a suggestion.
Get rid of the metal bleachers.
They’re doing just that, gradually. Season-ticket holders have until September 20 to acquire dibs on 6,500 new seats that will be placed in the south end zone of Lambeau Field, according to Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. For $89 per game, the fan gets a 21-inch chair. A 19-inch seat costs only $82.
For many fans, the choice of where to park their tails also entails assuming a less desirable view of the action, if they choose chairs.
So when will the entire stadium convert to, like the rest of the NFL, actual seats with backs on them? It won’t be happening on team president Mark Murphy’s watch. Hunt writes that, in 2003, the Packers determined that they would lose 12,000 seats if they made the switch.
“I would not want to be the president who lost 12,000 seats in Lambeau Field,” Murphy said.
Still, the Packers need to ask themselves whether the bleachers are an impediment to the stadium experience. For now, they aren’t.
And the Packers wouldn’t be adding 6,500 real seats if they didn’t think at least 6,500 fans wanted them.
Over time, look for the Packers to continue to add more and more real seats. And to find a way to ultimately retrofit the venue to squeeze in as many people as they can, even if it means reducing the total manifest.