Saturday, May 7, 2011

The End (Zone) is Nigh

As most of you know, the Packers are considering a new round of changes to Lambeau Field. We've seen the proposed North Gate entrance:

Now, based on materials sent to season ticket holders, we're getting a look at changes the club intends to make to the interior.

A sketch of what Lambeau Field's south endzone could look like if the Packers organization decides to make all changes included in the recent survey to ticket holders and shareholders.
My first reaction is a negative one; this new addition doesn't seem to be in the spirit of Lambeau Field at all. The beauty of the 2003 renovations was that they left the traditional seating bowl intact. The new suites and premium seating, glassed in, elevated up and set behind the seating bowl, didn't impact the collegiate and traditional feel of the interior. Adding cantilevered seating decks could demolish it.

That having been said, let's take a look at the details of the Packers' proposal so far (empashis theirs).

EAST AND WEST TERRACE BLEACHER SEATS (South End Zone)
One option being considered in the south end zone is East and West Terrace bleacher seating with backs. This area would be located outside, but would be partially covered from the elements by an overhead canopy. The area would also feature standing room viewing platforms of the field at the ends of the seating section.

The food service in this area would consist of upgraded food and beverage options. Access to this area would be limited to those who purchase seating in this section. East and West Terrace bleacher seating will be sold on a season basis as either green (7 games) or gold (3 games) packages. Ticket purchases would be limited to a maximum of four (4) seats.
The team is also considering individual seats instead of the backed benches:

Again, this seems to violate the spirit of Lambeau Field. It's too much for me.

"ON THE WALL" TERRACE BLEACHER SEATS (South End Zone)
One option being considered in the south end zone is "On the Wall" Terrace bleacher seating with backs. This seating would be an enhancement to the general seating located throughout the main bowl of the stadium. This area would be located outside centered on the end zone, but would be partially covered from the elements by an overhead canopy. The area would also feature standing room viewing platforms of the field at the ends of the seating section.

The food service in this area would consist of upgraded food and beverage options. Access to this area would be limited to those who purchase seating in this section. "On the Wall" Terrace bleacher seating will be sold on a season basis as either green (7 games) or gold (3 games) packages. Ticket purchases would be limited to a maximum of four (4) seats.
As with the East and West Terraces, benches may be replaced with individual seats.

The remainder of the sections would definitely have individual seats.

EAST AND WEST GOLD LEVEL STADIUM SEATS
(South End Zone)
East and West Gold Level stadium seating in the south end zone would also be an enhancement to the general seating located throughout the main bowl of the stadium. East and West Gold Level seating would be outside and protected from the elements by the level above. These seats would consist of individual 20-inch wide stadium seats with arm and back rests.

The food service in this area would consist of upgraded food and beverage options. Access to this area would be limited to those who purchase seating in this section. East and West Gold Level stadium seating will be sold on a season basis as either green (7 games) or gold (3 games) packages. Ticket purchases would be limited to a maximum of four (4) seats.
From there, we begin to get into the real premium seating.

EAST AND WEST GREEN LEVEL SEATING (South End Zone)
Another seating area being considered as part of the renovation plan is an exclusive outdoor seating area that would be covered from the elements and would have a casual atmosphere. This area would have three rows of stadium seating (chairs with arm and back rests), high bench-like tables, and would be accessible only to patrons in this seating area. The area would consist of patio space that could include specialty food service, table top seating, standing room viewing platforms as well as 20-inch wide stadium seating. Access to this area would be limited to those whom purchase seating in this section.

This seating area would be sold on a season ticket basis as either a Green Package (7 games) or Gold Package (3 games). Ticket purchases would be limited to a maximum of four (4) seats.
And the upscale would go up from there:

LOGE SEATING (South End Zone)
A potential seating area in the south end zone could include loge-style seating that would be targeted towards a premium experience.

Seating in this area would have a capacity of 200 people and would include segregated three-row deep seating sections consisting of 10 to 12 upholstered 21-inch wide seats. This seating area would have immediate access to an indoor lounge area that would provide all-inclusive upscale food and beverage offerings such as a carvery, dessert bar, wines and other such fare with dozens of flat screen TVs.

Access to the seating area would be limited to those whom purchase seating in this section. This seating area would be sold on a full season ticket basis only. Ticket purchasers would contract for 10 to 12 seats.
I think we can translate "only sold in blocks of 10 or 12" as "we need to increase corporate sales".

Fortunately, they do have something for the slightly less-well-heeled among us:

STANDING ROOM TICKETS (South End Zone)
A south end zone expansion at Lambeau Field could create an open-air plaza or patio that could be available for standing room only single game ticket sales. The standing room only area would offer a full view of the playing field and access to new restrooms and concessions in the south end zone area.
They indicate that these seats could cost somewhere around $60 (plus a $33 seat license fee)

So there you have it. Again, I'm not a fan so far. The Packers managed to preserve the wonderful open feel of Lambeau Field while building a state of the art facility all around it. In 2003 they didn't make a single wrong step; this feels like a whole dance of them.

I understand the need for increasing the seating capacity. A 900-year waiting list will do that. But we've seen what happens when you cram cantilever decks on top of a classic open-bowl stadium.

I don't know anyone who thinks, in retrospect, that was a good idea.

C'mon, Mr. Murphy. I understand the need for increasing both revenues and capacity (I've been on the waiting list for years, as I suspect most of you have been). But not like this.

There has to be a way to build these amenities without having them loom over the seating bowl. I'd hate for Lambeau Field to lose some of what makes it such a special place to while away a Sunday afternoon.

3 comments:

Dave U said...

You are completely and absolutely right. This article sums up exactly how I feel about the new renovations.

The Tame Lion said...

Vigorously nodding my head in agreement!

Packerfan4ever said...

I'm all for the Packers enclosing the South End Zone, but this proposal is not it!