One of the most revered stadiums in the country, Lambeau Field this year is hosting its 61st season of football.
A year-round destination venue enjoyed by Packers fans in a variety of ways on a daily basis, it underwent a dramatic facelift from 2000-03 that added a host of new amenities and attractions, carrying the glorious tradition and history of the Packers forward in the “like-new” Lambeau Field. Building upon that success, the venerable stadium recently completed a five-year expansion and renovation (2011-15) that saw the debut of the South End in 2013, a new section which closed the south end-zone structure and features approximately 7,000 new seats, including premium seating as well as sponsor and partner areas. Additionally, the stadium’s main premium seating areas were updated in a two-year, $55 million renovation project that was fully complete at the start of the 2017 season.
Featuring the only true “retro” look in the entire league, Lambeau Field through the redevelopment and recent expansion has maintained its heart – the original seating bowl. The same hallowed ground where many of the NFL’s greatest moments have transpired continues to exist, a setting in which current players will create incredible memories in future years. Even with the changes over the past 15 years, Lambeau maintains its nostalgic and intimate feel with totally unobstructed sightlines. Permeated by history, tradition and mystique, the view from inside can be awe-inspiring.
What was once just a football stadium that fans could use only 10 days during the season is today a Packers cultural center that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Within the five-story Lambeau Field Atrium, located on the stadium’s east side, is the Packers Pro Shop; corporate meeting and event facilities for up to 25 to 1,200 people; the Packers Hall of Fame; and a restaurant, 1919 Kitchen & Tap (see pages 610-612 for a full listing of the Atrium dining, entertainment and retail options).
Historic Lambeau Field is the longest continuously occupied stadium in the league – 15 years more than the next-closest venue, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City at 46 years. In pro sports as a whole, only the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park (106 seasons) and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field (104 seasons) have longer active home-field tenures.
The stadium that enjoys iconic status today had very humble beginnings.
Originally built at a cost of $960,000, an amount shared equally by the Packers Corporation and the city of Green Bay, the facility was financed by way of a bond issue that received 2-to-1 voter approval in a municipal referendum conducted April 3, 1956.
Located in southwest Green Bay, surrounded on three sides by the village of Ashwaubenon, Lambeau Field originally was built on farmland, purchased for $73,305. The stadium’s original architect, Somerville Inc., favored the current site because it was sloped, making it perfect to build a bowl.
Dedicated as Green Bay City Stadium Sept. 29, 1957 – a day that 32,132 fans saw Green Bay topple the hated Chicago Bears, 21-17 – attendees included Vice President Richard Nixon and NFL Commissioner Bert Bell. In 1965, the facility was renamed Lambeau Field following the death of E.L. “Curly” Lambeau, the Packers’ co-founder and first coach.
Expansions and Renovations
Seating expansions: 1961-1995
Prior to the 2003 redevelopment, seven seating additions – all paid for by the Green Bay Packers Inc. – increased Lambeau’s capacity from its original 32,154 to 38,669 in 1961, to 42,327 in 1963, to 50,852 in 1965 and to 56,263 in 1970. Construction of 72 initial suites in 1985 moved capacity to 56,926, and a 1990 addition of 36 boxes and 1,920 theatre-style club seats changed the number to 59,543. The seventh seating addition, a $4.7 million project in 1995, put 90 more suites in the previously open north end zone, for the first time giving the stadium the feel of a complete bowl and upping capacity to 60,890.
2011-15 Expansion and renovation:
The 2011-15 expansion and renovation of Lambeau Field and the Atrium, a $312 million project, began in 2011 with the installation of a distributed-audio system that delivers sound more consistently and evenly throughout the stadium bowl. The 2012 season featured new high-definition video boards in the end zones with displays four times larger than the old versions, as well as a new Bellin Health Gate on the north end of the stadium with an accompanying North Loft, a popular rooftop viewing platform located just beneath the scoreboard. The South End (opened in 2013) is served by the Shopko Gate with escalators and elevators to service the five levels of seating. The multiple sections feature amenities not previously available in Lambeau Field, from viewing platforms in the general seating areas for watching the action on the field, to indoor-outdoor suite configurations and inclusive meal arrangements in the premium and partner areas. Atrium renovation work included a larger Oneida Nation Gate with plaza (2013), a new east gate – the American Family Insurance Gate – with a 50-foot Lombardi Trophy replica, a new Packers Pro Shop and a redone Harlan Plaza with a new statue – the Lambeau Leap – that allows visitors to replicate the fan-favorite touchdown celebration (2014). The final Atrium components, completed in 2015, are a new Packers Hall of Fame and a new restaurant, 1919 Kitchen & Tap, on the main floor of the Atrium. Enhanced internet connections also were added in 2015 in the stadium and Atrium through upgrades in cellular and Wi-Fi systems.
Other fan-experience enhancements included a new concession-sales system (2012), further reducing the time fans are out of their seats, and another 30 points of sale (2013). The recent expansion also increased the number of men’s and women’s restrooms to 646 and 798, respectively.
In terms of seating capacity, the ninth addition brought approximately 7,600 new seats online for the 2013 season, putting capacity at 80,735. With the debut of standing-room-only areas in 2014, capacity of Lambeau Field now stands at 81,441, second only to New York’s MetLife Stadium (82,500).
The football facilities also received an upgrade during the recent renovations. The main component is the Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Instructional Center (CRIC), which includes an indoor, 35-yard field that can be used for a variety of activities, including team walk-throughs, strength and conditioning work, and rehabilitation exercises for injured players. The new football facilities, located underneath and adjacent to the Oneida Nation Gate, also include a weight room, team dining area, player resource and development area, and player lounge. The athletic training facilities also were enhanced with expanded treatment space and additional hydrotherapy pools.
In addition to the stadium and Atrium projects, premium seating areas recently underwent a two-year, $55 million renovation project, which included the installation of operable windows in the suites and updated furniture and décor in the club-seat common areas. All updates were complete by the beginning of the 2017 season.The most recent project, not including the updates to the suites and clubs seats, cost $312 million, with no funding coming from public tax money. The first phase, including the South End expansion, sound and video upgrades, totaled $146 million and was funded by the Packers ($64 million from the organization’s fifth stock sale), an NFL loan ($61 million) and a contribution from the stadium district ($21 million). The stadium district’s user fee was updated in 2013 and set at $2,100 for the “Green Package,” and $900 for the “Gold Package.” The second phase, including the Atrium renovations, totaled $166 million and was funded by the Packers ($111 million through traditional financing) and an NFL loan ($55 million).
Even with Lambeau Field’s numerous smaller-scale changes and improvements through the years, the stadium was becoming outdated in the 1990s with other new NFL stadiums coming online.
As a publicly owned team, the Packers must generate a significant amount of income from their home to remain competitive. Challenges with capacity, as well as the need for updated suites plus more club seats, restrooms and concessions, made redevelopment a necessity.
Faced with these challenges, the organization went to work in October 1999, assembling a plan to protect 80 years of Packers history and ensure the club’s continued viability. After several feasibility studies and with overwhelming support for renovation, as opposed to building a new stadium, the redevelopment plan was determined as the proper course of action. Unveiled in January 2000, the plan ultimately won voter approval that September with the hard work of people committed to preserving Green Bay’s unique franchise.
“Our fans overwhelmingly asked us to save Lambeau Field,” then-President/CEO Bob Harlan said. “This plan accomplishes that while giving the Packers an economic base to build for the future in Green Bay. We want this to be the No. 1 destination in Wisconsin. We’re going to build a stadium that the rest of the National Football League wished it had.”
Included in the redevelopment were more than 11,600 additional seats (the stadium’s eighth addition), including roughly 6,600 more bowl seats, which increased Lambeau’s capacity to 73,094 at the time. More than 4,000 of the seats were available for use during the 2002 season with construction ongoing, and capacity fluctuated between 65,290 and 66,110 as the season progressed.
The main concourse, previously so narrow in some places that it had become a safety problem, also was expanded significantly in 2002. And a new, upper concourse, complete with concession stands and restrooms that increases the ease with which fans can move through the facility, fully debuted in 2003 with the project’s completion after partial use in 2002.
Concession stands and restrooms were greatly expanded as well. Concession points of sale increased to 281 on the main and upper concourses alone, up from 186. The 2003 project increased the availability of women’s restrooms from 180 to 556, and men’s from 436 to 708.
The centerpiece of the redeveloped stadium is the Lambeau Field Atrium, a 376,000-square-foot, five-plus-story structure on the east side. MillerCoors, through a sponsorship that extends through the 2022 NFL season, is a partner with the Packers in the Atrium and is the sponsor of the area’s main entrance gate, the Miller Lite Gate. Welcoming fans is a glass wall, facing Lombardi Avenue, measuring more than 180 feet long and 80 feet high. Additionally, in July 2002, all of the team’s administrative and football-operations offices also relocated to within the Atrium.
Just outside the Atrium is the Robert E. Harlan Plaza, named in honor of the former team CEO (1989-2008). In the space are bronze statues of team founder Curly Lambeau and legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Sculpted by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany (Lombardi) and Omri Amrany (Lambeau) of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany in Highland Park, Ill., each statue is 14 feet tall and sits atop three feet of steps and a four-foot base. Benches throughout the area make the plaza area a great place to sit and soak up the majesty of Lambeau Field.
The Packers’ football facilities – a vital element in attracting players in today’s ultra-competitive NFL – also were enhanced greatly by the stadium’s redevelopment, debuting in time for the 2002 season. The centerpiece of these quarters is a breathtaking, 64-by-120-foot, football-shaped locker room with 64 stately wooden lockers. Another 38 lockers can be found in an adjoining, auxiliary locker room.
The football facilities also feature a much larger athletic training room with all of the latest therapy pools, as well as a permanent X-ray machine, individual position meeting rooms with theatre-style seating, a 150-plus-seat team auditorium, a basketball court with a parquet wood floor, and a racquetball court.
Other benefits realized through the redevelopment project included a modern system of field lights that is more than eight times brighter than the previous stadium lights, and a new visiting-team locker room.
Also, a larger, more comfortable and modern press box that can seat in excess of 250 media members for a playoff game – positioned along the sidelines – debuted in 2002. In 2003, the press box was renamed “The Lee Remmel Press Box” in honor of the late former newspaper sportswriter, Packers public relations director and team historian who had more than 60 years of close association with the organization.
Overall, the project took 32 months to complete and was completed on time – and on budget – with the Packers remaining in Green Bay to play all of their games.
In 2007, the Packers installed an entirely new playing surface, including a completely new drainage and heating system, bringing the latest technology in field management to the famous stadium. Chief to the system is DD GrassMaster, a natural-grass surface reinforced with man-made fibers. All existing levels of the field were removed and the new system began with a clay sub-grade level, compacted and graded (with a .6 percent slope), including drain tile, irrigation pipe and thermostat wiring for the heating system. The second level consists of 5½ inches of pea gravel. On top of the gravel layer is 43 miles of ¾-inch tubing for the heating system, which can maintain a root-zone temperature of 55-plus degrees to keep the ground from freezing during the season’s latter months. Level three consists of 12 inches of root-zone sand and Kentucky bluegrass turf. DD GrassMaster’s synthetic fibers are stitched into the surface, providing strength and stability to the field. Fibers extend approximately seven inches below the surface, are exposed approximately one inch above the surface, and are spaced every three-quarters of an inch. Approximately 20 million individual stitches make up the process. The slope equates to a crown of about 5½ inches on the new surface. To further enhance the surface, a system of grow lights is used in the fall to extend the growing season.
Legends Adorn the Façade
Also prominent within the stadium are the names of the 24 Packers players, coaches and contributors elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Ron Wolf, the team’s general manager from 1992-2001, became the 23rd name recognized in the stadium on Nov. 15, 2015, in honor of his enshrinement. Brett Favre, the team’s quarterback from 1992-2007, became the 24th name recognized on Oct. 16, 2016, in recognition of his enshrinement. The Packers’ 13 NFL championship seasons (south scoreboard) and six retired jersey numbers (north end zone) are displayed in the stadium as well. Favre’s No. 4, which was retired July 18, 2015, during the Packers Hall of Fame induction banquet, was formally unveiled on the north end zone façade during a halftime ceremony on Nov. 26, 2015.
• Sept. 29, 1957: Packers 21, Chi. Bears 17…New City Stadium is dedicated with Miss America, Vice President Richard Nixon and actor James Arness on hand…Babe Parilli hits Gary Knafelc on fourth-quarter TD pass.
• Sept. 27, 1959: Packers 9, Chi. Bears 6…Vince Lombardi wins his first game; gets carried off the field after team erases 6-0 fourth-quarter deficit with Jim Taylor touchdown and Dave Hanner safety.
• Dec. 31, 1961: Packers 37, N.Y. Giants 0…First NFL title game in Green Bay and Lombardi’s first of five NFL crowns…Packers total 345 yards on league’s No. 1 defense, led by Sam Huff.
• Oct. 7, 1962: Packers 9, Detroit 7…Herb Adderley’s interception leads to Paul Hornung’s game-winning field goal in the final seconds of “Run to Daylight” game... Biggest victory of the season for what is arguably Lombardi’s best team.
• Dec. 26, 1965: Packers 13, Balt. Colts 10…In Western Conference Playoff, Green Bay wins first franchise overtime contest on Don Chandler’s 25-yard field goal… Chandler ties the game with a controversial 22-yarder with 1:58 left in regulation… In 1966, the NFL raises its uprights.
• Jan. 2, 1966: Packers 23, Clev. Browns 12…In snowy 1965 NFL championship game, Taylor and Paul Hornung combine for 201 yards on the ground…Packers hold Jim Brown to 50 yards.
• Dec. 31, 1967: Packers 21, Dal. Cowboys 17…In -13 temperatures (-46 wind chill), Bart Starr scores on sneak in game’s final minute, ending 12-play drive…Last NFL title game in Green Bay…“Ice Bowl” win sends Packers to AFL-NFL world championship game (Super Bowl II).
• Sept. 7, 1980: Packers 12, Chi. Bears 6…Chester Marcol catches his own blocked kick (by Alan Page) and runs 25 yards for game-winning touchdown six minutes into overtime…First overtime contest in Packers-Bears series, NFL’s longest rivalry.
• Jan. 8, 1983: Packers 41, StL Cardinals 16…Lambeau hosts first postseason game in 15 years (“Super Bowl Tournament”).
• Oct. 17, 1983: Packers 48, Washington 47…Teams combine for highest-scoring game in history of Monday Night Football, and rack up 1,025 yards...Mark Moseley misses FG as time expires.
• Nov. 5, 1989: Packers 14, Chi. Bears 13…Sterling Sharpe’s 14-yard fourth-quarter touchdown catch knots contest with 32 seconds left, but official flags Don Majkowski for crossing line of scrimmage…Four minutes later, instant replay official Bill Parkinson overturns call.
• Sept. 20, 1992: Packers 24, Cincinnati 23…New acquisition Brett Favre comes off the bench to erase 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit, finds Kitrick Taylor for 35-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left.
• Dec. 31, 1994: Packers 16, Detroit 12…Fritz Shurmur’s defense holds NFL rushing leader Barry Sanders to -1 yard on 13 attempts, and the Lions as a team to -4 yards, to advance in playoffs.
• Jan. 12, 1997: Packers 30, Carolina 13…With -17 wind chill, Green Bay wins NFC championship, earns first trip to Super Bowl in 29 years…The Packers rush for 201 yards.
• Nov. 6, 2000: Packers 26, Minnesota 20…Antonio Freeman makes incredible catch in rain, scores on 43-yard touchdown in overtime on Monday Night Football.
• Jan. 4, 2004: Packers 33, Seattle 27…Al Harris picks off Matt Hasselbeck and scores on 52-yard interception return, the first defensive touchdown in NFL sudden-death playoff history.
• Jan. 12, 2008: Packers 42, Seattle 20…Packers spot Seahawks 14-0 lead, then storm back to outscore visitors, 42-6, as heavy snow falls...Six TDs and 42 points both set team postseason records at the time.
• Jan. 11, 2015: Packers 26, Dallas 21…Packers rally from eight-point deficit in second half to defeat Cowboys in their first playoff visit to Lambeau since the fabled “Ice Bowl.”
Lambeau Field Atrium
Key to making Lambeau Field a year-round destination venue is the 376,000-square-foot Lambeau Field Atrium, more than five stories high on the east side of the stadium.
Included within the Lambeau Field Atrium are a number of dining, entertainment and retail options for Packers fans of all ages. Free wireless internet access is available at the Atrium, too, for guests who want to use the internet while visiting a restaurant or taking part in a corporate event or meeting. The Atrium underwent a renovation, completed in August 2015, which enhances every visitor’s experience.
Packers Hall of Fame
The Packers and the Packers Hall of Fame Inc., a nonprofit corporation independent of the Packers, together host this special place. The Hall closed in late 2013 as part of the Atrium renovation project and reopened in August 2015 in a brand-new space located on the first and second floors of the Atrium. A tribute to the greatest story in sports, the new facility’s design includes use of the latest technology, in addition to a treasure trove of artifacts, as a means to educate and inspire visitors about the rich history of the Packers, as well as the teams of today. From the team’s beginnings with Curly Lambeau to the dominating era of Vince Lombardi, the Hall takes visitors on a journey that includes all 24 Packers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 13 world championships, including four Super Bowls, and the 159 members of the Packers Hall of Fame.
Lambeau Field Stadium Tours
Highlighted by a walk through the team tunnel to the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field, stadium tours allow fans to experience the Packers’ history-rich facility firsthand and see several behind-the-scenes areas. Outstanding photo opportunities avail themselves throughout each tour. A limited number of tour tickets may be purchased online from 30 days up to 48 hours prior to the tour date, but many tickets are also sold on a first come, first-served basis for each day’s available tours. A popular attraction, the stadium tour saw more than 172,000 visitors during the 2016-17 fiscal year. Public access to the inside of Lambeau Field is available only through a tour.
1919 Kitchen & Tap
Inspired by the local community and the rich history of the Green Bay Packers, the gastropub is a tribute to the year the team was organized and is located on the Atrium’s main floor. Featuring industrial, yet warm and rustic finishes, the restaurant has copper beer lines and exposed brick, to complement Lambeau Field’s welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. The interior also includes several nods to Packers history. The restaurant offers a menu full of innovative approaches to old favorites, highlighting locally sourced ingredients to ensure the freshest seasonal foods. Guests enjoy a bar with 80 beer taps, featuring a wide variety of selections, as well as an open-concept kitchen, which allows visitors to see and hear their food being prepared. An outdoor seating area is also available.
Lambeau Field Events
Lambeau Field, through the Atrium floor, Legends Club, North Loft, South End, Lee Remmel Press Box, Johnsonville Tailgate Village and indoor club space, is capable of handling every type of special event. From the important requirements of an elaborate corporate meeting to the extensive details of a wedding reception, the events department (920-569- 7515) can coordinate any function with catering provided by nationally known and award-winning Delaware North. The Lambeau Field Atrium hosted more than 1,000 events – including several wedding receptions – during the 2016- 17 fiscal year, welcoming more than 104,000 guests to the facility. Roughly 60 percent of the department’s bookings come from outside of Brown County.
Packers Pro Shop
Owned and operated by the Packers, the Packers Pro Shop is not only a shopping destination, but also a Packers experience. The 21,500-square-foot store, which opened in July 2014, is double the size of the previous store and located in the lobby level spanning the entire north side of the Atrium. Two entrances welcome visitors, one with a six-foot scaled replica gameday helmet, and the other with a 50-foot replica Lombardi Trophy. Inside, thousands of Packers items await, from clothing to special, unique items. The experience includes a wall of video monitors and extensive jersey and hat sections, among other design features.
In August 2015, the Packers announced the details of the Titletown District, the organization’s development on nearly 45 acres of land west of Lambeau Field. Building upon the success of Lambeau Field’s major redevelopment in 2003 and Atrium renovation in 2015, Titletown will maximize its unique location to attract visitors, spur regional economic growth, offer amenities to residents and complement the greater Green Bay area’s draw as an excellent location to live, work and play. Central to Titletown is a public park with year-round, diverse programming featuring fitness-related activities, cultural opportunities and versatile space for a variety of uses, in addition to festive gameday action. The main attraction is a winter tubing hill and dynamic ice-skating trail and pond, with the hill’s slope serving as a roof over two buildings: a café and an event space. In warmer months, the hill’s sloped green space provides a unique area for numerous activities. Titletown’s park also includes a plaza, an activity area, a playground and a sports field. Titletown is also home to LODGE KOHLER, a four-diamond hotel built and managed by Kohler Co.; a Bellin Health Sports Medicine Clinic; and Hinterland Restaurant and Brewery. These initial tenants are located on approximately eight acres of land in Titletown and integrated around the public plaza. Construction on Phase 1 of Titletown is set to wrap up in the fall of 2017, with future development to include additional commercial and retail elements, as well as a residential component. The Packers are investing approximately $65 million in Titletown, with a cumulative initial investment by all parties to be $120-130 million.