Perhaps as storied in sports as the old Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park, Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers are a rarity in today’s athletic fandom. You see, the Packers are the only franchise in the United States that is “owned” by the fans and the city of Green Bay.
I use the term “city” here only in its legal designation. Green Bay may more appropriately be called a hamlet as it is, by far, the smallest market in any major professional sport (only 100,000 in the city according to the 2010 census.)
But, despite their size they are one of the most recoginized and marketable teams in the NFL, ranking tenth in overall revenue. This success requires support, and that support comes from their amazing fan base.
All of this is why we were excited to tour the stadium today, and we were not disappointed.
It began with the usual stuff, Packers history, stadium and fan base history and of course the standard tour of the opulence and grandiuer that are NFL luxury boxes. Our tour guide was well-versed and gave a great tour, but the best part was to come.
She guided us downstairs to the hallway that butts up against the locker room. Now, we knew we were headed out to the field, but I thought it odd that she said we would be experiencing this hallway as a Packers’ rookie might.
That’s when she said, “it’s goosebump time, let’s go,” and started marching towards the green and gold banner at the end of the tube. Over the loud speakers, reverberating through the tunnel came the roar of a Sunday crowd, and the booming voice of the announcer introducing “Your Green Bay Packers!”.
Victoria turned to me and said “I think I’m a Packer’s fan!” I guess it’s better this way, it’s taken me 13 years to even tell her I was a Browns fan, at least she has a winner to root for.
We finished up the tour with a trip through the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame which features a decade-by-decade overview and special sections focusing on famed coach Vince Lombardi, the infamous weather which gave Lambeau Field its nickname “The Frozen Tundra” and a chance to capture your own Lambeau leap.
Well worth a visit, whether you’re a Packers fan yet or not.
For more info about a tour, visit here.