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.*
Summer is always an exciting time for football fans, with training camp, preseason games and the anticipation of the start of the regular season. With the opening of several major parts of the Titletown District, this summer will be especially exciting for Packers fans.
Hinterland restaurant and brewery was the first Titletown anchor to open in April. (I actually think of Cabela's, which opened in 2014 and is located at the intersection of Interstate 41 and Lombardi, as the first anchor, but it is technically not in Titletown.) It opened to rave reviews and has been consistently busy since it opened. Over the next few months, several aspects of Titletown will open. Lodge Kohler, a four-diamond hotel with a state-of-the-art spa, will hold a ribbon-cutting on July 18. The third anchor, Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics, will open later in July.
The public park and plaza will be very unique features of Titletown. Various parts of this area will open in a staggered fashion beginning in September. The plaza area, at the east end of Titletown, will be the first to open and will feature an activity strip. The activity strip will host games such as ping pong, bean-bag toss and bocce ball. The playground and a full-length, artificial surface football field will also open in September. The field will be lighted in order to maximize its use by people in the community. The highlights of the park area will be the tubing hill and skating trail. The hill will be 45 feet high with a 300-foot run. The hill and skating trail will open in November when temperatures are more conducive to making snow and ice. We decided to build the tubing hill and skating trail based on feedback from focus groups in the community. People said they wanted something that would keep them active and outside in winter!
The past few months have been hectic with construction here at Titletown. The hard work will all be worth it, though, to see the impact Titletown has on the community and our residents.
Now, on to your questions…
Take a look at the progress of Titletown and the ongoing construction of the tubing hill, skating rink and other park areas. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.
John from Pulaski, WI
I have been a shareholder since the stock sale in the 1990s but have never attended a shareholder meeting. I would like to go to this meeting, but it always seems to be in the middle of the week. Can you do something to make it easier for us "owners" to attend the shareholder meeting?
I've got good news for you, John. The shareholder meeting will be on a Monday this year, July 24. Our hope is that shareholders will take a long weekend and travel to Green Bay for the meeting. With the opening of parts of the Titletown District this summer, we thought that this might motivate shareholders to come to the meeting. In the past, we've tied the meeting into the start of training camp. Typically, we would hold the meeting the day before the day the players report to training camp (two days before the first practice). The thought was that shareholders would attend the meeting and then stay for a few practices. We've found, though, that few people attending the meeting stayed to watch some practices. So, holding the shareholders meeting on a Monday will be a test for us, and hopefully shareholders will find it easier to attend the meeting now.
Bill from Suamico, WI
I have read about the new promenade and the Johnsonville Tailgate Village. How do the Packers plan to use this area? I was in Green Bay recently and drove by Lambeau Field. I thought the Johnsonville Tailgate Village looked great, but I was surprised at how big it was.
We're very excited about the Johnsonville Tailgate Village (JTV), Bill, and think it will be a great asset for the organization. It replaces the Tundra Tailgate Zone (TTZ), a large white tent that we rented for the season the last eight years. The TTZ was very popular on gamedays, so we felt confident in building a permanent structure. The JTV will be used primarily on game days to enhance the fan experience. Like the TTZ, we will have food, drinks and entertainment. The space is larger than the TTZ, and I think it will be more popular with our fans because of the connection to the promenade (garage doors will open to the promenade), the graphics in the building and the large, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Lambeau Field. The promenade will be significantly wider than in the past (it is now 100 feet wide), and will provide a pedestrian corridor for fans arriving at Lambeau Field from the east. The promenade will also serve as an activation area for our sponsors. Also, since the JTV is permanent, we will be able to rent it out throughout the year for weddings, meetings and other events. The JTV and promenade will also be home to the American Family Insurance "Dream Drive" during training camp.
Jeremy from Derby, UK
I am from Derby, UK. I'm still a relatively new fan. I only started watching the NFL two years ago and am still getting my head around it all. There are two things in particular that have stood out to me. The first is how small the divisions are – four teams in each division seems quite small for a country that likes everything big. The second is, excluding the playoffs, it can be years before two teams face up, like the Pats and the Packers for example (it's a match I'd love to see). Do you see the divisions expanding and the number of non-division matches increasing anytime in the not-so-distant future? Is this something that is talked about much in the league?
Interesting observation, Jeremy. The NFL structure is obviously quite a bit different than what you are used to with the soccer leagues in Europe. The roots of the current NFL go back to the merger of the old NFL and the AFL in the late 1960s. The two leagues played separate schedules during the regular season and then would meet in the AFL-NFL Championship game. Initially, there was a real question as to whether the AFL teams could compete with NFL teams. After two convincing wins by the Packers in the first two championship games, the merged league was forever changed when Joe Namath and the New York Jets upset the Colts in Super Bowl III. I do not envision the divisions increasing in size. The current division structure (eight divisions with four teams in each division) has been in place since 2002 when the league expanded to 32 teams. I think the present structure and schedule format has served the league well. Teams have established great rivalries with the other teams in their division as well as with other conference teams, and the Super Bowl has an air of excitement to it because the matchup is usually between teams that do not play each other often.
A question from Mark
Hello Mark, and thank you for guiding us on another exciting season for the Packers. The reason for my email is that my wife and I intend to visit Green Bay again to experience Lambeau Field and everything else Green & Gold.
With three big events in the next few years I am wondering which year would be better for our visit, as I will only be able to make one trip – the events being the centenary of being formed in 1919, the centenary of joining the NFL in 1921, and finally the centenary of the first share issue in 1923. To me they each have their own importance. Do you have any news of what events are being lined up for these seasons to help us with our decision-making? Thank you for any response to these very small wishes from a big Packers fan.
Thanks for raising our 100th anniversary, Mark. We're very excited about our upcoming anniversary (you only turn 100 once), and have been planning ways that we can celebrate the anniversary for a couple of years now. We will soon announce our specific plans, so I can't get into details, but I can tell you that we will have celebrations throughout the entire 2018 season, our 100th season. We will have a special celebration on August 11, 2019, our 100th birthday. We haven't planned anything special yet for 1923. I don't know if this helps you make a decision as to when to travel to Green Bay. Please check packers.com for more details on the 100 seasons celebration, but there is never a bad time to visit Green Bay in the football season!
A question from Larry
How does the relocation of the Raiders change the NFL dynamics as to Packers revenue?
Great question, Larry. Actually, there have been several changes in the NFL in recent years that will impact the revenue picture of the league. Over the past year and a half, the Raiders, in addition to the Rams and Chargers, have all announced that they are relocating. In order to move into open markets, these teams have to pay a relocation fee to the league (which is split evenly among the other teams). These fees will be paid over a 10-year period. Also, when teams move into new cities and new stadiums, you will usually see a significant increase in their revenue. In the case of these teams, though, it will take two to three years before we see the full impact – until the new stadiums in Las Vegas and Los Angeles are ready for play. In addition, several teams have moved into new stadiums in recent years, which typically results in a jump in revenue as well. For instance, when the 49ers moved from Candlestick Park to Levi's Stadium, they moved from a bottom-quartile team (ranked 25th to 32nd in revenue) to a top-quartile team (ranked first to eighth). Given these changing dynamics in the league, it is imperative that we continue to pursue other sources of revenue so that we remain competitive both on and off the field. This was a motivating factor in our decision to develop the Titletown District. In the most recent league rankings, we were ninth in total revenue.