The Green Bay Packers announced today their plans to expand Lambeau Field by 6,600 seats as well as adding a new entrance gate to the south and north end zones by the start of the 2013 season with groundbreaking scheduled for September 1 this year. Some of the funding could come from a new sale of Packers stock.
The seats will be added in four levels and the seats will contain seatbacks. The project also includes a rooftop viewing area for club seat holders that will be available for special non-football events (like this year’s Kenny Chesney concert) as well.
Escalators and elevators are also being added to the north and south end zones to ease the flow of entry and exit of fans from the stadium.
The Packers are completely funding this project which will include some loans, according to the press release from the team. A team stock sale is being considered and user fees similar to the 1999-2003 renovation of Lambeau Field is also being discussed.
Ticket prices are expected to be between the cost of a current bowl seat ($87) to club seat prices (maximum $313).
Well, my first obvious thought is the more Cheeseheads to make noise at Lambeau, the better. As you can see by the image, this isn’t truly “closing off” the bowl as there are gaps between the three sections of new seats. Of course while noise is a good thing sometimes, you don’t want to become a Metrodome without a roof.
Regarding the stock sale, I’m excited. This would open the door to a whole new bunch of NFL owners and the continued tradition of the community and the Packers working together for the good of the team. The downside is that if the price is at $500 a share (and it could be higher if a sale is held), that’s a lot of money for a family to fork over in this economy.
Then again, knowing the resiliency of Packer Nation, they’ll find a way for this to happen.
Of course, some fans may be upset that some seats will feature backs as the rest of Lambeau has the old school bleachers. The Packers in their press release did say that general seating would be featured but not all fans are comfortable on bleachers. While I think the old bleachers are neat, it’s time to at least add some new modern seating.
The bottom line is this is a win for the Packers and their fans. While it won’t put a big dent in the long line of season ticket holders, this gives 6,600 more fans a chance to experience the majesty and magic of Lambeau Field and will make the best homefield advantage in the NFL that much stronger.
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke