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View from around the state: Lambeau Field expansion is economic boost for Green Bay

These are good days for the Green Bay Packers and their followers.

The Packers are Super Bowl champions. The franchise is protected by a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement between the league and players, and now has an expansion plan that will provide economic stimulus beyond the confines of Lambeau Field.

The recent announcement that the organization will add 6,600 seats to the south end zone at Lambeau Field by 2013 comes with collateral benefits that we agree are good for the franchise and the public. It is further evidence that the franchise is riding a wave of success and popularity.

Best of all, the Packers corporation intends to finance the $143 million project to pay for the seats and new north and south entrances to the stadium.

The trickle effect of all this, especially during times of economic struggles, is welcome. Packers officials estimate that the new seats will create $1 million more in economic impact per game because of what the additional ticket holders will spend on the weekends of home games.

They also believe that the projects will employ more than 1,600 workers with a combined payroll of $70 million and will help to hasten the end of the county’s half-cent sales tax, now due to expire in 2015. By saying it will finance these projects, the Packers sent a clear message the that team will not seek government approval for a half-cent sales tax to help pay for the work.

What the Packers have done is put some of the cost into user fees. Season ticketholders who want to surrender their current seats to relocate to the new and more comfortable end zone seats likely will have to pay more. New season ticketholders will pay the yet-to-be-announced seat license fee as well as the ticket price that could range from $87 to $313 per game, depending on the location.

A sale of more Packers stock shares that team officials say is “fairly far along” will give more people the opportunity to become co-owners of the franchise at a price that also hasn’t been disclosed. The most recent stock sale in 1997-98 raised $24 million.

To its credit, the Packers leadership engaged members of the public through focus groups to collect opinions on the best way to expand the south end zone. The expansion options first came to light after the Green Bay Press-Gazette learned of them.

It is no secret that some kind of development on property the Packers purchased in the Lambeau Field neighborhood eventually will occur. While those projects will involve the cooperation of Brown County, the city of Green Bay and the village of Ashwaubenon, we continue to urge the Packers to keep the public informed of the possibilities and the funding options.

Jason Wied, the Packers vice president for administration and corporate counsel, said dialogue with the public will be involved.

“We think it’s crucial,” Wied told the Press-Gazette. “The projects are only good if it delivers what the public wants.”

The more the Packers keep its fans in the loop, the more likely the team will strengthen its bond with the fan base.

The Packers have continued to assert the organization belongs among the elite of NFL franchises by providing a competitive team and a venue that allows more fans to participate in the entertainment that is generated at Lambeau Field.

Few can doubt that the current team is a competitive one. This latest step will open stadium doors to more fans and bring more money to the community.

— Green-Bay Press-Gazette

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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