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Volume 21 No. 5
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Johnsonville steps up Packers support with naming rights to tailgate village

The Green Bay Packers’ new tailgating facility gives the team an attractive revenue source outside of Lambeau Field.

The Johnsonville Tailgate Village is a 13,242-square-foot building in the stadium’s east parking lot. The Packers financed the $23 million facility, designed with the same look and feel as Lambeau.

The tailgate village, run by concessionaire Delaware North Sportservice, is open to all fans on game days and is available for special events when the Packers aren’t playing at home. It is climate controlled, has multiple bars, dozens of televisions and a stage for live music.

The Johnsonville Tailgate Village is new at Lambeau Field.

Johnsonville, the Wisconsin sausage maker and a Packers sponsor, paid for naming rights and has two permanent signs attached to the building’s exterior. The long-term agreement is on par with the stadium’s eight gate sponsorships, Packers President Mark Murphy said. Those fees are thought to be in the low seven figures annually, although Murphy would not discuss financial terms.

“This was a pretty big step up for them,” he said. “They’re a local company but also a national brand. I think for [Johnsonville President and CEO] Ralph Stayer … this is going to be part of his legacy, to have this partnership with the Packers.”

The tailgate village replaces the old Tundra Tailgate Zone white tent setup, which was a popular attraction, but the rental fees became too costly and the temporary structure didn’t really fit in with Lambeau Field, Murphy said.

“We thought a more permanent structure that tied in with Lambeau would make more sense,” he said. “For the last eight years we had the tent and it was packed, so we know the fans will be there. It’s a little larger and gives us the flexibility to rent it out as event space for the whole year.”

Boston-based Elkus Manfredi, the architect for the stadium’s south end zone expansion completed in 2013, designed the tailgate village using the same brick and steel materials, and it looks like a miniature version of Lambeau Field. The new building’s floor-to-ceiling windows on the west side provide views to the stadium, and the garage doors on the south side open up to the promenade, an outdoor space reserved for team sponsor activation.

For non-game days, the Packers have already booked 15 events at the new venue, Murphy said. The venue can hold up to 400 people for events like weddings, he said.

On game days, the tailgate village also will be a destination for Packers fans without game tickets, as more people come to Lambeau just to be part of the NFL experience without going inside the stadium, he said.