The Green Bay Packers announced plans this morning to renovate and expand historic Lambeau Field. The expansion will add approximately 6,600 seats to bring the venue to just under 80,000. Scheduled to be finished before the start of the 2013 season, the renovated Lambeau Field will become the fourth largest stadium in the NFL.
Packers president Mark Murphy made the announcement at a press conference this morning at Lambeau. There will be no taxpayer dollars spent on the project. The team will fund the expansion and may offer fans the first stock sale since the early 1990s.
In the past, the Packers have used the sale of shares in the organization in order to raise money for different projects. The Packers are the only publicly owned franchise in the NFL with over 112,000 people holding over 4.7 million shares. The Packers are seeking league approval for another sale and will release information at a later date.
Packers fans would jump at the chance to buy shares, whether they be additional shares or first-time buyers. During their White House visit, the Packers gave known Bears fan President Obama a share in the team as a gift.
“We’re excited to begin work on the expansion of Lambeau Field,” Mark Murphy said in a press release. “This project will benefit the Packers and our fans through two new gates for better stadium entry and exit, additional seats and updated amenities, as well as more game-day crowd noise focused on our opponents. It also will benefit our community, initially through construction jobs, but also in the long term through the increased economic impact of additional fans coming to Packers games each year.”
The project will cost an estimated $130 million and shake up both end zones in the stadium. The south end zone will receive the new seats while the north end zone will be renovated for better access in and out of the stadium.
This is welcome news for those on the long list for season tickets. The seats will be offered first to those on the waiting list. Currently, there are over 80,000 people on the waiting list to get season tickets. There are enough people on the list to fill up a second stadium and still have a waiting list.
Murphy is very pleased to be putting his stamp on Lambeau Field and the organization. He is very aware of the historical importance of Lambeau and vowed that this expansion would not take anything from the sacred landmark.
“All of us feel a sense of responsibility that this is an icon. This is the best stadium in the NFL and you want to make sure you do it right,” said Murphy during the announcement. “We want people to look at the south end zone and say it looks like it’s always been there.”
The new addition will also create a wall in the south end zone that should keep noise in the stadium. A noisier venue will make Lambeau Field even tougher for opponents. The Packers are looking to return some of the mystic and intimidation back to Lambeau Field.