Thursday, August 25, 2011
First look at expanded Lambeau Field
By Kevin Seifert
To answer a question many of you have already asked regarding plans for Lambeau Field's pending expansion: Yes, the team is considering a stock sale to help finance what in total will be a $143 million project.
The expansion of the south end zone will add about 6,600 seats.
The Packers currently have 112,158 shareholders. They don't receive dividends but do have access to a yearly shareholders meeting and help elect a Board of Directors. Plus, you get a fancy certificate!
The last stock offering came in 1997 as the team prepared its most recent renovation of Lambeau Field. This time, the Packers will add 6,600 seats in a four-tiered addition to the south end zone of the stadium. The project will be complete in time for the 2013 season.
The expansion will bring capacity to just under 80,000. Currently there are four NFL stadiums with a higher capacity. For perspective, consider the current capacities of NFC North stadiums:
Lambeau Field: 73,128
Ford Field: 65,000
Soldier Field: 61,500
Proposed Vikings stadium: 65,000
For me, the best part of Thursday's announcement is that the Packers have funding sources for an entire three-year project that has already led to the installation of a new sound system. (The sound system counts for $12 million of the $143 million.)
According to the team, the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Stadium District's capital improvement fund will fund some of the project. The team will also take out traditional loans, implement user fees for new season ticket holders and could be eligible for NFL loans as well. The league will have to approve any stock sale.
The list doesn't include a request for taxpayer money from local or state government, which might have been a non-starter in the current economic climate anyway. I'm glad the Packers didn't even try to go there.
Your thoughts on the artist rendition accompanying this post are welcome.