Packers Climbing In Fan Satisfaction Rankings

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Running back Vernand Morency does the 'Lambeau Leap' after a touchdown against the Lions on Dec. 17, 2006.

The optimism of Green Bay Packers' fans heading into the 2007 season has been nearly impossible to ignore.

Whether through conversations during Fan Fest, talk of the upcoming draft, or the buzz generated by last week's announcement of the Packers playing on Thanksgiving Day once again, anticipation of the upcoming season is heard around nearly every corner.

Further evidence of that optimism came to light with the recent release of ESPN SportsNation's "Ultimate Standings" of fan satisfaction rankings.

In an online survey of more than 80,000 fans in SportsNation, the Packers ranked 23rd among all 122 professional sports teams and fourth in the NFL, significant climbs from the rankings a year ago.

In early 2006, Green Bay was coming off a 4-12 season, and its fan satisfaction ranking was 30th overall and 14th in the NFL. Those were the club's worst marks since the advent of the survey in 2003, when the team ranked first in all of sports and maintained a Top 10 ranking in both all sports and the NFL the next two years.

The Packers' strong finish in 2006, during which they put together a four-game winning streak to finish 8-8 and barely miss the NFC playoffs via a tiebreaker, has the team climbing back toward where it's accustomed to be in the "Ultimate Standings."

"It's exciting to see the Packers rank fourth among NFL teams in ESPN's fan satisfaction rankings this year," said Packers President/COO John Jones. "Our fans across the country put a lot of faith in us here at Lambeau Field, and each year our goal is to deliver a championship-caliber team on the field.

"We've got a lot of excitement heading into 2007 based on our strong finish last year and the momentum Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have built. I'm sure some of the satisfaction demonstrated in the survey was generated by the anticipation for this year."

SportsNation's survey covered 21 categories to determine what fans want most in return for their emotional and financial investment in their favorite team. The responses to those 21 topics were then grouped into eight categories, and the Packers ranked in the top five in two of those.

In the category of "Ownership," which encompasses honesty and loyalty to the players and the city, the Packers ranked fifth in all sports and second in the NFL, behind only the Pittsburgh Steelers.

{sportsad300}Even more noteworthy, in the category of "Stadium Experience," the Packers ranked second overall and first in the NFL, a direct reflection of the 2003 renovation of Lambeau Field that has made it an everyday venue as well as a tremendous game-day venue for Packer fans.

"To again rank highly in the stadium experience and ownership categories speaks very well to our efforts in making the fan experience a top priority," Jones added. "We strive to make Lambeau Field the best game-day atmosphere in all of sports.

"But it goes beyond that, too - we want all our visitors to have a great experience at Lambeau every day. Fans come to soak in the Packers aura year-round, from training camp, to the Hall of Fame, to Curly's Pub. Our events play a large role in that experience as well, such as Fan Fest, Draft Party, Project LEAP! and Spooktacular Fun. Many of these events benefit other area businesses economically, so that's a plus for our community overall."

With the enthusiasm and loyalty of Packer fans, another year of improvement and perhaps a playoff run could get Green Bay back to the top of the list.

For a look at the complete fan satisfaction rankings, click here.

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