A conversation with Packers President and CEO, Mark Murphy
The Green bay Packers are about a month away from the start of training camp. You can practically feel the autumn breeze in the air on this 100 degree day, can't you?
On Monday, after Team Matzek lost in the Wisconsin Sports Shootout at Blackwolf Run, I had a chance to catch up with Packers President and CEO mark Murphy (who's team won the 5-hole competition for team captain, Wayne Larrivee). We chatted about the stadium renovation, other improvements, and how anxious he is for the upcoming season.
GM: First things first Mark, how's the renovation to the stadium going?
MURPHY: It's really coming along great. We've been fortunate with a such a mild winter. Everything is on time, and on budget. We're excited about it, and I'm really excited to see our fans reaction. I think a couple things, this year, when they see the scoreboards - I really think they're going to be blown away...it's unbelievable. It's four times the size of the boards we had; and the clarity and definition is just phenomenal. It's really going to change the experience the fans have.
GM: It's not so much a problem with the Packers, but league wide, it seems like attendance is dipping a little bit because the fan experience at home is so great.
MURPHY: In some ways, we're our own worst enemy. The experience at home in front of the TV is so good. With HD, the Red Zone channel, the Sunday Ticket and the popularity of fantasy football, more and more fans are staying at home. What we really need, and what we're focusing on is making that experience in the stadium really special; and I think we have it at Lambeau Field.
GM: I know Roger Goodell talked about making ever stadium's Wi-fi access much better. Is that in place for Lambeau Field?
MURPHY: It's gonna be much better, but it is a challenge if all 70, soon to be 80,000 people want to get on their smart phone at the same time. I think the fans will see improvements there, the video board, the sound system last year. We're really excited about some of the changes to concessions. We're going have every concession stand take credit cards now, and we're also going to have a lot more portable stands. And then with the addition in 2013 of the south endzone, with additional seats, and all kinds of amenities in the south endzone, I think the fans are really going to be pleased with some of these changes.
GM: I talked to some of the players a couple of weeks ago at the Lombardi Tournament and hey were saying how they can't wait to take the field for the first game after that playoff loss. Do you have the same feeling even though you're on more the business end of it?
MURPHY: Yeah. That was a tough loss. Unless you win the Super Bowl, the season never ends the way you want. To have the kind of regular season we has last year and have it end the way it did, I think it left a bitter taste for everybody, but you learn from those experiences.
We're a young team, that has a chance to be very good for a number of years, so hopefully we learn from that experience. It takes a lot of work to get home field advantage, and hopefully we get in that position again and we'll take advantage of it and use it to win a Super Bowl.
GM: Before I let you go, when you're a good team, you have odd scheduling quirks to start the season. You have games all over the place on different nights. Do you like that?
MURPHY: I think, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy would like to play Sunday at noon every day. You do like to be in a routine, but realistically, when you're playing Monday night, Sunday night and Thursday night games, it's an indication that you've had success and that you're popular.
We're pleased. I mean, last year my wife wasn't too pleased, we were the first team in NFL history to play on Thanksgiving, Christmas and new year's. This year we'll be home for the holidays.