|Former names||City Stadium (1957–64)|
|Location||1265 Lombardi Avenue, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54304|
|Owner||City of Green Bay and Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District|
|Operator||Green Bay Packers|
|Surface||Kentucky bluegrass reinforced with DD GrassMaster|
|Opened||September 29, 1957|
|Construction cost||$960,000 USD|
$295 million USD (2003 Renovation)
($4.37 million in 2022 dollars)
($352 million in 2022 dollars)
|Green Bay Packers (NFL) (1957–present)|
Lambeau Field is an outdoor football stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Opened in 1957 as City Stadium, it replaced the original City Stadium as the Packers' home field. For that reason, it was also informally known as New City Stadium until 1965, when it was renamed in memory of Packers founder, player, and long-time head coach, Curly Lambeau, who had died earlier in the year. The stadium's street address has been 1265 Lombardi Avenue since 1968, when Highland Avenue was renamed in honor of Vince Lombardi. It sits on a block bounded by Lombardi Avenue (north); Oneida Street (east); Stadium Drive and Valley View Road (south); and Ridge Road (west). The playing field at the stadium sits at an elevation of 640 feet (195 m) above sea level. Lambeau is the second largest stadium in the state of Wisconsin behind Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.
Packers need a modern facility
Since 1925, the Packers had played at 25,000-seat the old City Stadium. However, it was considered inadequate for the times, and the other NFL owners had threatened to force the franchise to move to Milwaukee unless it got a new stadium. In 1956, Green Bay voters responded by approving (70.3%) a bond issue to finance the new stadium. The original cost in 1957 was $960,000 (paid off in 1978) and its seating capacity was 32,500. The new stadium would be the first modern stadium built specifically for an NFL franchise. At that time, all the other NFL teams were playing either in facilities shared with Major League Baseball teams, or in other pre-existing shared facilities. The site, now bordered on three sides by the village of Ashwaubenon, was selected because it had a natural slope, ideal for creating the bowl shape. The nearby outdoor practice fields (Clarke Hinkle Field and Ray Nitschke Field) and Don Hutson Center are in Ashwaubenon, as was the Packers Hall of Fame until 2003. The new City Stadium was officially opened on September 29, 1957, as the Packers beat the Bears 21–17. In a ceremony before the game, the stadium was dedicated by Vice President Richard Nixon. Although they now had a modern facility in Green Bay, the Packers continued their tradition (since 1933) of playing two or three regular-season games a year at County Stadium in Milwaukee, 120 miles to the south. Beginning in 1995, regular-season games were no longer scheduled in Milwaukee, and Lambeau Field became their only home field. Former Milwaukee ticket holders receive tickets to a preseason game and games 2 and 5 of the regular season home schedule, in what is referred to as the "Gold package". Green Bay season ticket holders receive tickets to the remaining home games as part of their "Green package".
Demand for tickets at the new stadium easily outstripped supply, not coincidentally after the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi in 1959. In 1961, four years after it opened, the stadium's capacity was increased to 38,669. Since then, the Packers have been regularly increasing the seating capacity. The bowl was increased to 42,327 in 1963, to about 50,860 in 1966 and to 56,263 in 1970, when the stadium was fully enclosed for the first time as the various stands were joined into one continuous oval around the field. Construction of 72 private boxes in 1985 increased the seating capacity to 56,926, and a 1990 addition of 36 additional boxes and 1,920 theatre-style club seats brought the number to 59,543. In 1995, a $4.7-million project put 90 more private boxes in the previously open north end zone, again giving the stadium the feel of a complete bowl and increasing capacity to 60,890.
By the end of the 1990s, the Packers believed that they needed to update the facility to remain financially competitive in the NFL. Rather than build a new stadium, Chairman/CEO Bob Harlan and President/COO John Jones unveiled a $295 million plan to renovate Lambeau Field in January 2000. It was to be paid for partly by the team via the 1997-98 stock sale, which netted more than $20 million. Most of the proceeds were to be paid through a 0.5% sales tax in Brown County and personal seat license fees on season ticket holders. After their plan won approval by the Wisconsin State Legislature, it was ratified by Brown County voters on September 12, 2000 by a 53%-47% margin. Construction began early in 2001.
The massive redevelopment plan was designed to update the facilities, add more premium and suite seating, yet preserve the seating bowl, keeping the storied natural grass playing field of the "frozen tundra". The project was completed in time for the 2003 season, bringing the current capacity to 73,128. Construction management was conducted by Turner Construction Sports, and proved to be of remarkably little disruption to the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
In 2007, the Packers completed their 51st season at Lambeau, breaking the all-time NFL record set by the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field (1921–70). (While Soldier Field in Chicago has been the site of a football stadium longer, it was not the home of the Bears until 1971.) Only the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley can boast of longer active home-field tenures in American professional sports.
Although the capacity has more than doubled since Lambeau Field was opened, demand for tickets remains high: season tickets have been sold out since 1960, and more than 81,000 names remain on the waiting list (with a reported average wait time of 30 years). The sell-out streak has had the effect (intended or not) of ensuring that all Packers home games being televised every year in Green Bay and Milwaukee, a streak that started in 1973 (prior to that time, local telecasts of home games were disallowed regardless of how many tickets were sold). During the 2007 season, Lambeau Field was voted the number one NFL stadium in game-day atmosphere and fan experience by a Sports Illustrated online poll. In 2009, The Sports Turf Managers Association named Lambeau Field the 2009 Field of the Year. Through the 2010 season, the Packers have compiled a 189-107-4 (.639) regular season mark at Lambeau Field.
South End-Zone Expansion
In 2010, plans were announced by the Green Bay Packers to install new high definition scoreboards in place of their current scoreboards; in addition, plans for a new sound system were announced as well. Later the plans were expanded to include adding as many as 7,500 additional seats both inside and outside as well as viewing platforms and lounge areas. On May 5, 2011 the Packers sent out an online survey to 30,000 season-ticket holders, club-seat holders and individuals on the season-ticket waiting list to get feedback from the fans’ on several concepts being considered for the south end-zone development. While the sound new sound system is expected to be completed in time for the 2011-2012 NFL season, the other additions will not begin construction until after the 2012 Super Bowl and could take several years to complete.
Name and nickname
New City Stadium
The original name of Lambeau Field lasted through the 1964 season. Officially "City Stadium", the name "New City Stadium" was used informally to distinguish the stadium from its predecessor, which had become the home of the Green Bay East High School football team.
Following the death of Packers founder Curly Lambeau, New City Stadium was renamed "Lambeau Field" by the Green Bay city council in 1965. Besides founding the team in 1919, Lambeau played for the Packers in their early years and was the team's coach for 31 seasons through 1949. He shares the distinction with rival George Halas of the Chicago Bears of coaching his team to the most NFL championships, with 6. Lambeau was inducted as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 1963.
Corporate naming rights
On November 7, 2000, two months after Brown County voters approved a sales tax to fund Lambeau Field's renovation, a second referendum was presented to the same Brown County voters. This referendum asked whether naming rights to the renovated stadium should be sold in order to retire earlier the 0.5% sales tax created to cover construction costs. The referendum passed 53% to 47%, the exact percentage by which voters approved the sales tax. After the vote passed, the Packers entered talks with the City of Green Bay, which owns the stadium, to further explore the options. The City and team agreed to sell the rights if a price of $100 million could be realized, although no buyer has been found. The Packers, although agreeing to be bound by the will of the voters, have consistently stressed that they would prefer Lambeau Field keep its traditional name, honoring the club's founder. The Packers have sold naming rights to the five entrance gates. From the north going clockwise, they are: Miller Brewing (atrium gate), the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (east gate facing Oneida Street), Mills Fleet Farm stores (southwest gate), Associated Bank (west gate and private box entrance), and Verizon (northwest gate). Miller Brewing is also a sponsor of the atrium, and has a section in one end zone called the "Miller Lite End Zone", giving away tickets in that area with various beer promotions.
"The Frozen Tundra"
The stadium's nickname was spawned by the Ice Bowl between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, played on December 31, 1967. The game was played in temperatures of –15°F (–26°C) with sharp winds. Journalist Tex Maule, associated Lambeau Field with the term tundra in his article summarizing the game in Sports Illustrated. Lambeau Field was alleged to have got its nickname, The Frozen Tundra, from The Greatest Challenge, the Packers' authorized highlight of the film written by Steve Sabol. In the Cowboys' authorized version of the highlight film, A Chilling Championship, also written by Sabol, Bill Woodson used the term the Frozen Tundra, when narrating the film to describe Lambeau Field. ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman made the moniker The Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field famous. Prior to the 1967 season, an underground electric heating system had been installed but it was not able to counter the effects of the cold front that hit Green Bay at the onset of the Ice Bowl. The field had been covered overnight with the heater on but when the cover was removed in the sub-zero cold the moisture atop the grass flash-froze. The underground heating and drainage system was redone in 1997. After the 2006 season, the surface, heating, and drainage system was replaced. The new grass surface has synthetic fibers woven into the sod. Even the new video boards, installed in 2004, have been influenced by the field's nickname, being called "Tundra Vision". These video displays, installed by Daktronics out of Brookings, South Dakota, measure more than 25 feet (8 m) high by 46 feet (14 m) wide.
More famously a nickname for the city than its football field, "Titletown USA" became popularized in 1961, even before Vince Lombardi would see his team win any of his championships. At the 1961 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants, which the Packers would win 37-0, fans hung up signs around the stadium that read Welcome to Titletown USA. Then-Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle believed that the honor was for him, just that his name was misspelled. Lambeau Field has been home to seven NFL world championship seasons, five under Lombardi, one under Mike Holmgren and one under Mike McCarthy, surpassing the six world championship seasons witnessed by its predecessor, City Stadium.
Lambeau Field has represented a significant postseason home-field advantage for the Packers. Playoff games at Lambeau Field typically feature the cold Wisconsin winters. The most famous example is the aforementioned Ice Bowl. More recently, in the 1997 NFL playoffs both the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional playoffs and the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game struggled to adapt to the muddy and the cold conditions respectively. The temperatures during the 2007 NFC Championship Game reached as low as −4 °F (−20 °C), with a wind chill of −24 °F (−31 °C). From its opening in 1957 until January 2003, when they fell 27–7 to the Atlanta Falcons, the Packers had never lost a postseason game at Lambeau Field. However, the Packers hosted just one postseason game (in the ad-hoc round-of-16 in the strike-shortened 1982 season) during a lean stretch of 27 years between the Ice Bowl of 1967 and a wild-card game in December 1994. Although the Packers have lost three of their last five playoff games at Lambeau Field, the overall home post-season record is an impressive 13–3. The stadium has hosted five championship contests: three NFL title games in 1961, 1965 and 1967 (the "Ice Bowl"); two NFC championships after the 1996 and 2007 seasons. Remarkably, the Packers won Super Bowl XLV without playing a single postseason game at Lambeau Field. As a wild card team, they had to play all their games on the road (they had lost 4 straight road playoff games before that, three of which came at NFC West stadiums).
The "Lambeau Leap"
Many Packer players jump into the end zone stands in a celebration affectionately known as the "Lambeau Leap". The Lambeau Leap was invented by safety LeRoy Butler, who scored after a Reggie White fumble recovery and lateral against the L.A. Raiders in December 1993. It was later popularized by wide receiver Robert Brooks. Occasionally, a visiting player will attempt a Lambeau Leap, only to be denied by Packers fans. This happened to then-Minnesota Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown; Packers fans proceeded to throw their beverages on Smoot. During the 2007 NFC Championship game, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs faked a Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown, angering many Green Bay faithful in the stands. Before a game against the Packers on September 20, 2009, Cincinnati Bengals wideout Chad Ochocinco announced he would do a Lambeau Leap if he scored a touchdown, and then followed through by leaping into the arms of pre-arranged fans wearing Bengals jerseys. Willis McGahee successfully did a Lambeau Leap into Ravens fans in a game between the Packers and Ravens.
Originally, music at Lambeau Field was provided by the Packers' Lumberjack Band. The live band has been replaced by recorded music. Whenever the Packers score a touchdown, the Todd Rundgren hit "Bang the Drum All Day" is played. This tradition began in 1995 and has since been copied by a few other teams around the NFL. "Go! You Packers! Go!", the team's fight song, is played at Lambeau Field immediately following the Packers' player introductions and after each extra point scored by the Packers. The "Go Pack Go" jingle is usually played when the team is on defense or during the start of a drive on offense. A song built around this jingle is "Go Pack Go!" by The 6 Packers. The House of Pain hit "Jump Around" is often played during one time-out at Lambeau, resulting in widespread jumping around by the crowd. This tradition began due to the popularity of the same song/crowd-participation tradition at University of Wisconsin football games. The polka standard "Beer Barrel Polka" (also known as "Roll Out The Barrel") is also played at Lambeau Field, usually in the fourth quarter of games. "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas is played when the Packers win a game
With the 1997–98 sale of stock in the Packers corporation, swelling the number of owners to over 112,000, a large venue was needed for the annual shareholders meeting. The event returned to Lambeau Field in 2006 after several thousand people were turned away from the 2005 meeting at the nearby Resch Center.
High school and college football
When built, Lambeau Field was also slated to be used by Green Bay's public high schools, as old City Stadium had been. However, a key 1962 game between the Packers and Detroit Lions was affected when two high schools played in the rain the preceding Friday, damaging the field. After that, Lombardi asked the schools to avoid using Lambeau, however both Southwest High and West High played there until a high school stadium was built in the late 1970s. In 1970, Green Bay's Premontre High School (the alma mater of Lombardi's son, Vince Jr.) hosted (and won) the state private school football championship. In 1982 and 1983, St. Norbert College hosted Fordham University (Lombardi's alma mater) in benefit games to fight cancer. Shortly after the 2006 Wisconsin–Ohio State hockey game (see below), newspaper reports said the Wisconsin football team might be interested in moving a non-conference road game to Lambeau Field.
Following the success of the "Cold War" collegiate hockey game held in 2001 at Michigan State's Spartan Stadium, hockey teams from Wisconsin and Ohio State met in the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic, an outdoor game played on a temporary rink inside the stadium on February 11, 2006. The Badgers defeated the Buckeyes 4–2 before a capacity crowd of 40,890. There were some problems as the ice began to crack during play, but overall it was a success, ending with the Badgers doing the Lambeau Leap following their victory.
A 2005 snowmobile racing event took place over the turf, but even with proper snow cover, it ruined the playing field. In 2004, the event was held in the parking lot due to a lack of snow.
Since the renovation, only one concert has been performed at Lambeau. The last concert to be held at the stadium, prior to the renovation, was Survivor, in 1985 to a crowd of 13,000. Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band performed in Green Bay on June 11, 2011, in a tremendously successful stop of the Goin' Coastal Tour. The main reasons for the lack of concerts at Lambeau Field revolve around concerns of the team relating to potential damage of the playing surface and also the more desirable venues in Wisconsin, notably Miller Park and the Bradley Center in Milwaukee and Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
For many years, Lambeau hosted a popular annual Fourth of July fireworks display, sponsored by locally based retailer Shopko Stores, Inc.
The main character of the 2007 sports parody movie The Comebacks was named "Lambeau Fields" in an homage to the famous stadium, he was played by comedian David Koechner.
- 1957 32,500
- 1961 38,669
- 1963 42,327
- 1965 50,852
- 1970 56,263
- 1985 56,926
- 1990 59,543
- 1995 60,890
- 2001 65,290
- 2003 73,128
- From Lambeau Field website: http://www.lambeaufield.com/stadium_info/history/
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Microsoft TerraServer Imagery
- O'Brien, 1987 pg. 213
- Gruver, 1998 pg. 13
- Packers.com Fan Zone FAQ
- "SI.com - NFL Fan Value Experience - Nov 7, 2007". CNN. November 7, 2007. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/nfl/11/01/fvi.intro/index.html?bcnn=yes. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- http://www.packers.com/news/stories/2009/12/02/1/ Lambeau Named 2009 'Field Of The Year'
- "Packers unveil plans for new scoreboards". December 7, 2010. http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2010/12/07/packers-unveil-plans-for-new-scoreboards.html.
- Maraniss, 1999 pg. 388
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Packers, Green Bay to discuss Lambeau naming rights" June 19, 2003.
- "Packers to start shopping Lambeau name around". The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. November 8, 2000. http://www2.jsonline.com/packer/news/nov00/lambeau09110800.asp
- "The Old Pro". CNN. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/reader.html?magID=SI&issueDate=19680108&mode=reader_vault. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- Davis, 2008, p. 159.
- "Woodson Was First With 'Frozen Tundra'". http://www.pressboxonline.com/story.cfm?id=6428. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "The Battle for Wisconsin". http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/520jtabm.asp. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "Lambeau Field updates include a new surface". Associated Press (via ESPN). 2006-12-07. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2690426.
- "Lambeau Field, Stadium Facts". http://www.lambeaufield.com/stadium_info/history/.
- University of South Carolina Official Athletic Site - Traditions
- YouTube - Fred Smoot's Lambeau Leap!!!
- ESPN - Manning, Giants head to Super Bowl for rematch with Pats - NFL Football Recap
- ESPN – Ochocinco finds end zone in Green Bay
- ESPN - Ochocinco had it planned out
- When Pride Still Mattered, A Life of Vince Lombardi, by David Maraniss, 1999, (ISBN 0-684-84418-4)
- South Carolina Hall Of Fame: Robert Brooks
- Davis, Jeff (2008), Rozelle: Czar of the NFL. New York:McGraw-Hill. 0-07-159352-7
- Gruver, Edward (1998). The Ice Bowl:The Cold Truth About Football's Most Unforgettable Game. Ithaca, New York:McBooks Press, Inc. ISBN 1-59013-080-4
- O'Brien, Michael (1987), Vince: A Personal Biography of Vince Lombardi. New York:William Morrow and Company, Inc. ISBN 0-688-07406-6
- LambeauField.com - official website
- Green Bay Press Gazette - Lambeau memories at 50 - 2007
- Lambeau Field timeline from PackersNews.com
- PackersNews.com - Lambeau Field
- Packers yearly results
- Packers game results
- Lambeau Cam from Packers.com
- Don't bet on UW football at Lambeau, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Feb. 15, 2006
- Google Maps aerial photograph - aerial photograph and topographic map
- ESPN.com, "Lambeau or Bust: NFL Experience Incomplete Without a Trip to Green Bay"
|Events and tenants|
|Home of the
Green Bay Packers
1957 – present
|Host of NFC Championship Game
University of Phoenix Stadium