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.*
When our minicamp ended last month, we headed into the hibernation period for most NFL players, coaches and employees. This is the period when most people associated with the league take vacations and recharge their batteries to get ready for the season.
Things will heat up quickly in late July, though, for the organization. On July 18, we will hold the highly anticipated ceremony inducting Brett Favre into the Packers Hall of Fame and retiring his number. The ceremony will be held in the Lambeau Field Atrium, but the stadium will be full with fans watching the event on our video boards. It should be a great evening. On July 24, we will have the grand opening of our new restaurant, 1919 Kitchen & Tap. I’m anxious for our fans to see the new restaurant. It will be located in the Atrium floor (where the old Pro Shop was located). The bar will have a view of the replica of the Lombardi Trophy, and there will be outdoor seating on the terrace overlooking the Harlan Plaza. Our Annual Shareholders meeting will take place on July 28; and training camp will start on July 30. That weekend, we will also host our annual 5K run and the annual movie night in the South End Zone.
For those of us who work for the Packers, the start of training camp is a very exciting time of year. The season is just around the corner, and it is always amazing to see how many of our fans travel across the state (and country) to watch our training camp practices. It should be especially exciting this year with the Favre ceremony to kick it all off.
Now, on to your questions:
Nick from Kenosha, WI
What aspect of the Packers makes you most optimistic for next season?
*Well, Nick, my wife tells me I’m an eternal optimist, and I am optimistic about most aspects of the team. I’m most optimistic, though, about these aspects: our quarterback play – Aaron is the best quarterback in the league; our offensive line (we were able to keep the entire line together) and our mix of experience and youth – we have a core group of players who have significant playoff experience. Overall, the team is young and hungry and I think we have a chance to have a very good season. *
Chase from Omaha, NE
Mr. Murphy, What piece of business advice would you offer to a high school student interested in sports management in the future?
I’m often asked this question, Chase. Sports administration is a very popular field, but also a very difficult one to enter. So, it will likely take time to find a job in the field and you may have to start as a volunteer or an intern. You don’t have to have played sports in high school or college to work in the field, although it does give you a good background. The best advice I can give you is to work in the athletic department in college. They are always in need of student workers, and the experience will give you a big advantage when you start applying for jobs in the field. There are now more and more schools with both undergraduate and graduate programs in sports administration. These programs can be very helpful in terms of getting started in the field (many of them have internships), but I would say it is more important overall to get a good education to give yourself more career options. Lastly, I would say sport management is a good field to work in. However, it is not as glamorous as the media often portrays it, and it is like any other job in that you have ups and downs, and good and bad days.
Steffany from Cleveland, OH
I was looking over the shareholder information I received in the mail recently and was dismayed there are only three women on the board of directors and two female nominees. Are the Packers working toward building a more representative board of directors, one that reflects the Packers’ large female fan base or at least the percentage of shareholders that are women? Thanks for all your hard work. Appreciate it! GO PACK!
*Thanks for raising the issue, Steffany. We realize a large number of our fans are female, and a high priority of the organization has been to further diversify our Board of Directors. We now have six females on our Board, and Susan Finco, President of Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc., was recently named to become a member of our Executive Committee. She’s also the Chair of our Community Relations Committee and very talented. She will be the first female member of the Executive Committee. *
Scotty from Chicago, IL
A rock concert at Lambeau Field - how about in July as a kickoff 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?
*Great question, Scotty. Last month we hosted a Kenny Chesney concert. It wasn’t a rock concert and it wasn’t in July, but it was a great event. We had 53,345 people at the concert (about 4,000 more than the 2011 concert), and the atmosphere in Lambeau Field was great. Kenny raved about it. We would like to hold concerts on a regular basis, as we know it is a great economic boon to the local community. There are a couple of factors, though, that limit when and what type of concerts we can hold. First, our field (the Grassmaster XL system) is unique. It is a combination of natural and artificial grass, and we can’t replace it if it is damaged, as you do sod. We have to be able to regrow the grass. So, the window to hold a concert is late May to mid to late June, to give us enough time to bring the field back before the preseason. Finally, there are only so many acts that can fill a stadium the size of Lambeau Field, and you have to match up their open dates with our window. *
Ken from Milwaukee, WI
Mr. Murphy, Congratulations on a great season, and best wishes for the months ahead. My question: Are there any plans to increase the craft beer offerings at 2015 home games? We have a great brewing scene in this state – Lakefront from Milwaukee, Hinterland in Green Bay, New Glarus, of course, Ale Asylum of Madison, O’so and Central Waters among many others. It would be nice to have those options.
Yes, Ken, this is going to be one of the highlights of our new restaurant, 1919 Kitchen & Tap. We will have copper beer lines with 80 beer taps, featuring 40 varieties of beer selections (including MillerCoors products, of course). It should be very popular with beer enthusiasts across the state. The other unique feature of the restaurant will be the expo kitchen, which will allow guests to watch the chefs in action.