GREEN BAY – Green Bay may be close to finally landing the NFL Draft.
Speaking after the annual Packers Shareholders meeting on Monday, President/CEO Mark Murphy expressed optimism the team and city could host the draft in either 2025 or 2027.
The Packers did not apply for the 2026 NFL Draft due Wisconsin playing Notre Dame at Lambeau Field that same year.
"I feel confident in either '25 or '27 we will," said Murphy when asked about the possibly of hosting an NFL Draft. "We'll be given strong consideration. We've been close on other ones, too."
The Packers have applied several times to host the event, which has rotated on an annual basis since 2015. The team and city were among three finalists to host the 2024 draft before it was awarded to Detroit at the NFL Annual Meetings in March.
The team has pinned its draft hopes on the wave of development surrounding Lambeau Field, including the launch of Titletown on the stadium's west side and the construction of the Resch Expo Center to the east.
Since breaking ground in 2016, Titletown has expanded to include condos, an apartment complex and the U.S. Venture building on the 34-acre property. It's hosted a wide array of events, including a Jason Derulo concert this past summer.
To the east of Lambeau, the Resch Expo is a 125,000-square-foot facility with a capacity of 13,875. The space can be divided into three different hall designs.
Both Titletown and the Resch Expo have been featured prominently in proposals to host the NFL Draft, according to Murphy, and the NFL remains receptive to the idea.
"They really like the history and tradition of Lambeau Field and Titletown," Murphy said. "The number of hotels in Green Bay, that's the issue. It's become a big enough event. We've included all the way down to Milwaukee that people would be staying."
Take a look at photos from the Packers' 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Lambeau Field is no stranger to hosting large-scale events, whether it's Wisconsin hosting LSU in 2016, Billy Joel (2017) and Paul McCartney (2019) performances or last weekend's friendly between Manchester City and Bayern Munich.
The first-ever soccer match at Lambeau Field drew 78,128 on Saturday night, with visitors from all 50 states and 19 countries. Following the overwhelming positive response, the Packers are open to possibly hosting more soccer matches in the future.
"Soccer was well-received, not only by the community but talking to the teams and the players," Murphy said. "They loved the atmosphere, and they loved the playing surface, too. Hopefully, word was spread that makes it more likely we'll have games like that in the future."
With the 2022 NFL season drawing near, the Packers are in midst of expanding the football operations area in the southeast side of the stadium, doubling the size of the CRIC (conditioning, rehabilitation and instructional center), adding underground parking and relocating the coaching offices.
With the profits of last year's stock sale, which raised $64.9 million, the Packers also plan to enhance and expand the end-zone scoreboards in time for next season.
"Our current boards are coming up on 10 years," Murphy said. "They're still good, but if you've been to some of the newer stadiums, you can see the difference. The fan experience will improve dramatically."
The Packers added approximately 177,000 new shareholders during their most recent stock sale, raising the total number of shareholders to 539,000.
Many of those new owners were among the 8,428 in attendance at Monday's meeting in the Lambeau Field bowl. That's more than double the turnout from last year, which was reverted back to an in-person meeting after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 event to be held virtually.
Next up is a Packers training camp that should look more traditional. Players are once again scheduled to ride their bikes down to practice at Nitschke Field.
"I think this will feel like more of a normal training camp," Murphy said. "Just getting the sense of being around, you can kind of feel people coming in, more tours and the Atrium is full. I think there's a lot of pent-up demand and obviously I think there's a lot of excitement about the team this year."