SBD/July 25, 2014/Franchises

Packers Open To Playing In London, But Not Willing To Sacrifice A Home Game

Packers execs are on board with playing in London, but only as the road team
The NFL wants the Packers to play a game in London, but it "has to be a road game," because the club is "not going to give up the cash cow that is a home game" at Lambeau Field, according to Silverstein & McGinn of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy on Thursday at the team's annual shareholders meeting said that he is "completely on board" with playing as a road team in London. Murphy: "We would never give up a home game. It's too important for the community." He added, "I think our fans here would love to travel to London. I think it would be a great experience. ... There's only certain teams that play home games in London, and so those have to match up." Murphy also said that he "doubted the NFL would ever make the Packers give up a home game, so it's just a matter of finding the right road one" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/25).

PRICE PRICE BABY: In Green Bay, Richard Ryman reports Murphy told shareholders that he "anticipates the team would introduce variable pricing" for the '15 season. He noted that 10 or more NFL teams are "using variable pricing to some degree." Murphy: "We'll learn from their experiences. One thing we want to see is the reaction of fans across the league." Ryman notes the Packers currently "rank 17th in the 32-team league in ticket prices." Meanwhile, Murphy responded to comments made by Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in March that the NFL is "risking overexposure." Murphy: "The league is very popular, but I think we do have to be careful you don't over-saturate the market, particularly in prime time. The ratings continue to be strong, but you have to step back and make sure you're doing the right thing" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 7/25). In Milwaukee, Bob McGinn writes of variable pricing, "Complicating the issue in Green Bay is the green (seven games) and gold (three games) season-ticket packages." The gold (Milwaukee) package for more than a decade has "included the second and fifth regular-season games." Former Packers President Bob Harlan "didn't want fans driving back to southeastern Wisconsin late in the season on possible icy roads." Murphy said he would "probably be reluctant to change" the fifth game as the last for the gold. The Packers after surveying fans also "no longer will require them to pay for playoff tickets before the game is scheduled" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/25).

WHAT'S NEW: Murphy "reiterated that he is hoping" former NFLer Brett Favre "returns to Lambeau Field for a game this year." Murphy: "I'm very hopeful that when he does come back that he will be fully, fully supported by our fans. I'm confident in that. ... We are talking about bringing him back for a game this year" (AP, 7/24). Murphy said that the Packers are "helping with production of an upcoming movie" about Pro Football HOFer Vince Lombardi. ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky reported it is "being produced by Legendary Pictures, the same company that made '42,' the Jackie Robinson story." The movie will "be released in conjunction with the 50th Super Bowl" in '16 (ESPN.com, 7/24). Murphy said that the Packers "applied to host" the '15 Draft after the NFL said that it "will hold it in a city other than" N.Y. (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 7/25).

CHEESEHEADS, ASSEMBLE! In Green Bay, Rachel Minske notes a crowd of nearly 15,000 attended Thursday's annual shareholders meeting in Lambeau Field. The stadium's parking lot "was sprinkled with tailgaters" prior to the 11:00am CT meeting. A highlight reel from the '13 season "played on the stadium's massive video boards" before various committee members, Packers GM Ted Thompson and Murphy "took the stage to deliver comments." Shareholders "had the opportunity to check out the new Packers Pro Shop before the Atrium doors opened to the public" at 2:00pm (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 7/25).
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