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Expansion will create 'wall of sound'


Mark Murphy assured Packers fans the new Lambeau Field renovation won't cause the league's most venerable facility to sacrifice any of its charm or intimacy.

"I think it's going to make it more intimate," the Packers president and CEO told media at Thursday morning's press conference. "We feel very confident these seats are going to be very popular. High seats in the end zone are very attractive."

The Packers also feel the 6,600 seats that will be added to the south end zone of Lambeau Field will make the stadium one of the loudest outdoor facilities in the league, and that is likely to translate into more wins for the Packers, and that should also make the project very, very popular with Packers fans.

"Wall of Lambeau," Murphy said in painting a description of the planned expansion. "Wall of fans or wall of sound," he added.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy will be most happy to hear about that. The Bears, Lions and Vikings, however, won't be happy at all. By the start of the 2013 season, when the renovation will be complete, winning a football game at Lambeau Field will become even more difficult for visiting teams.

The two most asked questions about this latest renovation of Lambeau Field, which will begin on Sept. 1, are: 1.) What's it going to cost the taxpayer? 2.) Will it in any way lessen the Lambeau experience?

Murphy and the Packers assure fans the answer to both questions is no.

OK, then, where are the shovels?

"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," Murphy said. "We want people to look at the south end zone and say it looks like it's always been there."

Murphy, Packers VP/General Counsel Jason Wied and Ann Patteson of the Stadium District stood in front of the media on Thursday, along with two handsome artists' renderings of the planned expansion. The rendering that most clearly represents Murphy's "Wall of Lambeau" is, in a word, inspiring. You could almost hear the roar of the crowd coming from it.

"By making them vertical, you're going to hold the noise in the stadium. We think it'll make a tremendous impact on the noise level of the stadium," Wied said.

Lambeau has always been a difficult place for visiting teams to play, but it's not an especially loud facility. Its noise tends to go straight up. The "wall" will hold it in.

Murphy's "wall" will also guarantee continued success for the franchise's financials. Just as the renovation that was completed in 2003 helped keep the Packers competitive with the explosion of new stadiums in the league over the last 10 years, this latest renovation of the "House Lombardi Built" will allow the Packers to keep pace with the next wave of facilities, a phase that was kicked off most recently by new stadiums in Dallas and New York.

"The real positives of the (CBA) are that we have certainty, we have 10-year labor peace and we have incentive for teams to move forward like this," Murphy said, the latter positive referring to a league contribution to new stadium construction up to 1.5 percent of a team's total revenue. In Green Bay, given the Packers' revenue and how far 1.5 can go, that's a very, very attractive incentive.

Murphy also assured fans the major portion of the construction won't begin until immediately following the conclusion of the 2011 season, "right after the NFC Championship Game is here," he said.

That would also be very popular.

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