Another example of how development of facilities and adjacent real estate together lead to greater profitability.
A new economic impact study provides a blueprint for the Green Bay Packers to consider expanding Lambeau Field and developing land nearby that the franchise controls.
Mark Murphy, the team's president and CEO, said the study shows that adding as many as 10,000 seats at Lambeau Field could be a real positive for the team and the community in terms of new revenue, new development and new jobs.
There also is potential for development nearby on the 28 acres the franchise owns.
"Owning that land gives us some flexibility," Murphy said.
Murphy said the Packers did not have a timetable for a plan on expanding the stadium or development nearby. A number of factors will dictate that decision, including the state of the economy and the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with players.
Nevertheless, the study released Wednesday makes clear that the Packers and the fabled stadium are an economic juggernaut in good times and bad.
The study found that the total economic impact of the Packers and the stadium, which includes the Packers' own operations as well as off-site spending by visitors, was estimated at $281.5 million in 2009. That includes 2,560 jobs and more than $124 million in earnings.
The 10 Packers' games at Lambeau Field in 2009 had a $123.3 million impact on Brown County. For each game at Lambeau Field, exhibition and regular season, the Packers generate roughly $12.3 million in economic impact to the community. Throw in the days visitors come to Green Bay to watch training camps and the economic impact increases another $7.4 million.
The data and much more are contained in the $42,000 study commissioned by the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District. The study, conducted by Aecom Economics, was billed as the most comprehensive examination of the impact of both the Packers franchise and the redeveloped Lambeau Field in at least 10 years.
David Stone, who did the study, said the estimates of the economic impacts, if anything, could be conservative.
The impetus for the study came after the Packers hosted two playoff games in January 2008.
Although the study makes no recommendations, language in the 86-page report makes it clear that the Packers and the football district, which acts as the landlord for the stadium, see enormous potential for generating new revenue, new construction and new jobs in the region.
The study also suggests that, because demand for Packers tickets exceeds supply, and because many fans come from outside Brown County, "an increase in the stadium's seating capacity would lead to greater impacts."
"Based on the estimated per-game impacts and the current number of non-local attendees, a seating expansion of 10,000 seats could generate an additional $17 million in spending impacts per year (or approximately $1.7 million per game)," the study says.
The current seating capacity is 72,928.
As the study noted, professional sports teams nationwide have completed or are in the process of planning major capital improvements to stadiums and land nearby as a way of remaining competitive and generating new revenue the team keeps for itself.
The study considered only activity that would not have taken place in Brown County but for the presence of the team and Lambeau Field. No spending by local residents was included in the analysis.
The study attempted to identify and quantify the economic impacts of the team and the stadium; the team's training camp and regular season; the Lambeau Field Atrium; and the impact from the 2003 redevelopment of the stadium.
AECOM also conducted surveys of businesses, attractions and facilities near Lambeau Field.
"In general, most businesses indicated their satisfaction with Lambeau Field since its redevelopment has increased or has not changed. Many businesses have experienced increased sales on Lambeau Field game/event days, and many have expanded or renovated their businesses as a result of the stadium redevelopment," the study says.
Among the highlights:
- In 2009, the total economic impact attributed to spending by the Packers and Lambeau Field was $141 million, in addition to 760 jobs and $80.6 million in wages.
- The fiscal impact of taxes to local and state government from training camp and Packers games totaled approximately $8.7 million.
- The reconstruction of Lambeau Field generated more than $200 million in spending impacts to the county, including nearly $80 million in wages and $5.8 million in various tax revenues.
- Lambeau Field is generally capable of holding different kinds of events, but it has been deemed too small for many soccer events. In addition, much of the premium seating is behind glass that can't open or close. That could hinder the team and the district's ability to bring in concerts.
The study notes that, because Packers-owned land is so close to Lambeau, and hundreds of thousands of people visit the stadium every year, "it appears as though surrounding land could be leveraged for further development that serves both visitors as well as local residents."
As is the case with the Milwaukee Brewers and Miller Park, the Packers and the football district are looking at ways to generate more revenue for non-football events at Lambeau. The stadium has hosted a hockey game, snowmobile races and a religious conference.
The study hints that major concert acts have shown interest in performing at Lambeau Field, but no deals have been finalized. However, the chances for a concert by an unnamed artist for next year are "very good," the study says.
Murphy also indicated that the Packers are still interested in persuading the Big 10 to hold its football championship at Lambeau someday.