GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers announced that seating will be “significantly reduced” at Lambeau Field for the 2020 season.
If fans are allowed at all.
Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy notified season-ticket holders about “necessary adjustments to expect this season as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.” The plan has not been finalized but Murphy acknowledged it will be a “very different” stadium experience this season.
Season-ticket holders will be able to opt out of receiving tickets this year and not lose their seats in the future.
In a press release from the team:
Although the organization remains optimistic, there is a possibility that Lambeau Field will be unable to host fans for games this season.
At this time, the team is preparing to have fans in attendance with new policies and safety measures to allow for appropriate social distancing, which will require the stadium’s seating capacity to be significantly reduced. Face coverings also will be required, and other necessary precautions will be in place. As a result, the special experience to which fans are accustomed at Lambeau Field will look and feel very different.
Because of the reduced capacity should fans be able to attend games, the organization cannot guarantee that ticket holders in the general bowl and club seats will be able to reserve tickets. Due to the reduced capacity, the team is also eliminating the Green and Gold package designations, as well as suspending the Brown County Ticket Drawing program, for this season. Brown County residents who paid for tickets through the program this year will be automatically refunded. Suite holders will receive specific information separately relating to their suite.
While preparations continue and the full plan has not yet been finalized, the letter asked season ticket holders to begin considering their options for this season. In the near future, season ticket holders will be asked to complete a questionnaire asking if they want to “opt in” to be included in the process for a chance to reserve tickets this year. Those that opt in will be asked additional questions and given further instructions; this opportunity is exclusive to season ticket holders at this time.
Those who choose to “opt out” of the opportunity to obtain tickets will decide whether to have their 2020 payment refunded in full or credited to 2021. Their STH status and existing seats and ticket package will remain in place for next season.
Although season ticket holders and fans may have questions at this time, the organization is asking for patience while the details are finalized. No action by season ticket holders is necessary at this point; the Packers will provide full information about next steps soon.
The Packers are planning to make necessary adjustments in order to conduct games and other events in as safe a manner as possible in the best interest of fans, players and team and league personnel. All preparations are being made with the latest advice of medical and public health officials and are subject to change.
To create a buffer between fans and players, the first several rows of NFL stadiums will not include fans.
“Obviously, the fans being there is what it’s all about. I want the fans to be safe,” former Packers defensive back LeRoy Butler said. “(The players) will be protected. We’ve got the beat health care. I don’t want the fans to get sick. If they can’t be safe, then I wouldn’t want fans there. So, I’m OK with it. I’m OK with it because this has affected everybody.”
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Clearly, a greatly reduced stadium capacity – meaning less ticket revenue and fewer concessions – will have an impact on income. According to a team spokesman, the Packers have about $400 million in their corporate reserve fund.
The team has recorded 350 consecutive regular-season sellouts at Lambeau Field. For the playoff game against Seattle, 78,998 people filled the stadium.
It's not just the Packers who will be feeling the financial pain. A Packers home game is worth $15 million to the community, according to Brenda Krainik of the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.