Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy. On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: MurphyTakes5@packers.com
With all the construction projects we've worked on at Lambeau Field in recent years, July has become a very busy month for us. We typically try to finish the projects prior to the start of training camp, so July becomes a hectic time as we bring the projects to a conclusion. In recent summers, we've concluded the sound system (2011), the Bellin Health Gate (and North Loft) and video boards (2012), and the South End Zone (2013). This July will be no different, as we will bring the new Packers Pro Shop, reconfigured Harlan Plaza and the new east gate on-line this summer. The grand opening of the Packers Pro Shop is set for Thursday, July 17. I'm excited for our fans to see the new Packers Pro Shop. It is spectacular, and I'm confident there is not a store like it in the NFL. The rededication of the new Harlan Plaza will be held on July 9. The Plaza is much larger and more prominent, and still serves as a great tribute to Bob Harlan and the tremendous Packers history and tradition.
Our annual shareholders meeting is set for Thursday, July 24, at 11 a.m. As it's been a few years since our last stock sale (and the addition of 250,000 new shareholders), we are much more confident now in estimating the turnout for the shareholders meeting. Consequently, we will allow each shareholder to bring four guests to the meeting this year. It's always great to see the shareholders, and I know they will enjoy seeing the changes to Lambeau Field and shopping at the new Packers Pro Shop.
I encourage all shareholders to stay in town after the meeting for the opening of training camp. The first practice will be held at 8:20 a.m. on Saturday, July 26, at Nitschke Field. There will be a number of activities that day, including the Gridiron Chef Tailgate Throwdown cook-off and Chevy Packers Mobile Tour. Our annual Family Night event will be held at the end of the first week of practice on Saturday, Aug. 2. It should be a fun week in Green Bay for our fans.
Now, on to your questions:
Jim from Tucson, AZ
I realize that Green Bay could not host a Super Bowl. I think it would be a great site, however, for the NFL to host the annual draft. Why not spread the draft site around to the team sites that are just not acceptable for the Super Bowl? I'm sure Buffalo would agree.
Thanks, Jim. I also agree, and would like to see the draft held in Green Bay. The draft has been held in New York for many years now, and has built up a large following. Interestingly, the League used to hold the draft at team sites. The draft was held in Milwaukee in 1939. Staff from the League office have considered moving the draft to other locations. They've announced that they will hold next year's draft in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, and will make a decision in the fall after studying the advantages of these sites. It would be great for the local community if the draft were held in Green Bay, and we've contacted the League regarding the specifications required for hosting the draft.
Tonya from La Crosse, WI
On the road to becoming the president of the greatest organization in sports, what moment in your life made you realize or decide that this was what you wanted to do?
Great question, Tonya. I can't really say that there was a specific moment that made me realize that I wanted to be president of the Packers. However, as I considered (and researched) the position in the fall of 2007, I realized that I had a good background for the position. With my background as a former player, NFLPA player representative and executive, lawyer and athletic director, I felt that the position provided me with a unique opportunity to tie together all of my varied experiences. I was also hopeful that I would be able to make a difference in the position, and move the organization forward.
Marcus from Harvey, IL
I just would like to know if there is going to be another chance for fans to purchase a piece of stock in the team. I missed the stock sale in 2011, and even though I know it really doesn't hold any true value, I would still like a chance to purchase one for myself and my son before he grows into a Bears fan (he's only 2). If you could let me know, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I'm often asked this question by our fans, Marcus. I do not anticipate another stock sale in the near future. Any future stock sales would have to be approved by the League. Since the other teams in the League cannot conduct stock sales, the concern is that we would be at a competitive advantage if we were able to conduct stock sales on a regular basis to operate the organization. For this reason, the proceeds from any stock sale have to go directly into the stadium. If you look back over our history, we hold stock sales every 15 to 20 years. By the late 2020s, I would say that Lambeau Field would be ready for another major renovation!
Scotty from Chicago
Hi Mark: Last July at the "Ask Vic Day," you indicated in your address to the group the economic impact gameday has on the local businesses in the Green Bay Community. If I recall the number was $14 million dollars. That being said, I wanted to run a few possible events by you that might make sense for management and you to consider. It is possible that these ideas may have already been considered. If that is so, please humor me with these suggestions:
- A rock concert at Lambeau Field – How about in July as a kick off to training camp? In the summer, many major acts are on the road. Many acts have played such major venues as Soldier Field, Fenway Park, US Cellular, Wrigley Field, Foxboro Stadium. Why not the Frozen Tundra?
- The Notre Dame Shamrock Series – This would seem to be a natural with the past history of the Packers and the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has played regular-season games at Soldier Field, Yankee Stadium, and the new Cowboys Stadium. Lambeau is right up there with not only its history, but also being a first-class operation. Maybe to add a local flavor, how about Notre Dame vs. the Wisconsin Badgers?
- The Lambeau Field Bowl or the Frozen Tundra Bowl – This could be played in December in coordination with our regular-season schedule. What college player would not welcome the chance to play in this historic venue, with the wind, snow and great atmosphere? How about the fans migrating to Lambeau and experiencing the Lambeau Experience, which for many could be a once in a lifetime thing?
Thanks, Scotty. I appreciate your suggestions. As a community-owned team, we are very much aware of the tremendous economic impact that major events like these can have on the local community. The Kenny Chesney concert in 2011 was very successful. We haven't been able to hold a concert in recent years because of the construction at Lambeau Field, but are hoping to host a concert in 2015. We want to ensure that our field is in great shape for the season, so we limit concerts to mid-May to late June to give us enough time to get the field ready for the season. Of course, we are also very excited about hosting the LSU-Wisconsin game on Labor Day weekend in 2016. I've heard from many Badgers fans about this game. It will be the first college football game held at Lambeau Field since Fordham and St. Norbert played in 1983.
Jalen, age 12, from Philadelphia
I am coming to see training camp, can't wait, how can I meet some players?
That is great that you are coming to Green Bay for training camp, Jalen. You will love watching the practices at Nitschke Field, and you should have a chance to meet some of the players. As you may know, we have a great tradition of our players riding the bicycles of local children to and from practice during training camp. The tradition started during the Lombardi era. If you have a bike, that would be helpful. The best place to meet players would be either just outside of the players' parking lot (south of the Oneida Nation Gate steps) or at the entrance to Nitschke Field on Armed Forces Drive. I hope you have a great visit to Green Bay.