GREEN BAY – As one of three finalists for the 2024 NFL Draft and an applicant to host a future Big Ten Championship Game, the Packers are hopeful the developing area around Lambeau Field will help put their bids over the top.
The Titletown project on the stadium's west side continued to expand this past year, with condos, an apartment complex and an office building all being added to the 34-acre property.
To the east of Lambeau, the Green Bay area has welcomed the opening of the Resch Expo, a 125,000-square-foot facility with a capacity of 13,875. The space can be divided into three different hall designs.
"I think it will be huge for any big event. If you haven't seen it yet, it's really spectacular," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy of the Resch Expo, following Monday's annual shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field.
"I think, for instance with the draft, that will be one of the things we really highlight for the league – just all different kind of events that you can have around it – and I think the Big Ten championship game I think it will be a big factor."
Members of the Packers organization attended April's draft in Cleveland to get a feel for the event. The NFL is expected to decide on where the 2024 NFL Draft will be hosted later this fall.
The Packers made a bid to host the 2022 NFL Draft, but that event was awarded to Las Vegas after the pandemic wiped out plans for the city to host the 2020 NFL Draft.
The organization also has submitted proposals to host a Big Ten Championship in 2024-25 and 2027-30. The Packers didn't make a pitch for 2026, since Lambeau Field is scheduled to host a non-conference game between Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
In addition to the happenings in Titletown, the Packers are planning to expand the football operations area in the southeast side of the stadium, doubling the size of the CRIC (conditioning, rehabilitation and instructional center) and moving the coaching offices to that part of the building.
Looking ahead to the 2021 season, the Packers plan to honor former general manager Ted Thompson during the team's regular-season opener against the Detroit Lions. The game will include a special halftime ceremony where Thompson's name will be added to the Lambeau Field façade.
"I have so much respect for Ted," said Murphy of Thompson, who passed away in January at 68. "So humble. I don't think he's gotten the credit he deserves for what he accomplished with the Packers. I think this is very fitting."
There were no developments on a timeline for the Packers playing an international game, besides Murphy reiterating the team would be required to play abroad sometime in the next eight years as part of the league's expansion to a 17-game regular season.
Those matters, along with the status of reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, were among the main topics Murphy discussed during his 20-minute news conference following the shareholders meeting.
Murphy didn't get into many specifics as it relates to Rodgers' situation, but expressed optimism for a resolution on the eve of training camp.
He talked about Rodgers' importance to the franchise, while also praising Head Coach Matt LaFleur, General Manager Brian Gutekunst, and Vice President of Football Operations Russ Ball for their contributions to the team's success in recent years.
"We're doing whatever needs to get done," Murphy said. "I think Brian, Russ and Matt, we've all been involved, and obviously he's a very important player to the organization. We're working through and I'm hopeful."
Approximately 3,900 attended the shareholders meeting under clear skies in the Lambeau stadium bowl with another 8,000 watching online. There are presently 5,009,479 shares held by 361,362 shareholders.
"It was great to have a meeting in person and to have fans or shareholders here for the meeting after virtual last year," Murphy said. "I was very pleased with the numbers. … A lot of interest obviously and I thought it was a good, productive meeting."