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A time lapse of Lambeau Field filling up with fans before the start of the Packers vs. 49ers game Oct. 15, 2018. Sarah Kloepping, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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GREEN BAY – Ticket prices may have nearly doubled in nine years, but Green Bay Packers fans still pay less for mid-field and end zone seats at Lambeau Field than their counterparts in most stadiums.

And though it sounds illogical, the Packers still can claim to be in the middle of the league in average ticket price. 

They can thank the Lambeau Field bowl and its benches for that. Except for the south end zone, Lambeau Field has no tiers, and it is the only stadium in the NFL that has aluminum benches for the majority of its seating, which means Green Bay can pack more people into a smaller space without changing ticket prices.  

"If we put in seats instead of benches, we'd need 10,000 people to put up their hands and say I don't want my tickets anymore," said Jason McDonough, Packers director of ticketing and premium seating.

The Packers have only five ticket-price levels in the Lambeau bowl, while teams such as the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers have eight or more prices.

The Packers in 2018 ranked 25th lowest of the 28 teams for which prices were available for mid-field seats. They ranked 20th of 28 teams for end zone seat prices. Mid-field and end zone seats were chosen for comparison because they best correspond to seats in other stadiums.

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy has said the team wants to keep prices in the middle of the NFL, balancing a fine line between keeping other teams happy by charging enough and Green Bay fans happy by not charging too much. The Packers said they ranked below the league average in 2017.

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The Packers can charge overall higher prices because Lambeau Field has no bad seats, at least in comparison to many of the stadiums in the league, which include second and third decks with top-of-the-stadium sections that are testaments to "you get what you pay for."

"We don't have any nosebleeds. We don't have obstructed seats,"  McDonough said.  

Jeff Albrecht of Silver Lake saw the Packers play in 20 stadiums. He rates Lambeau Field sight lines as good-to-excellent compared to the stadiums he's visited.

Green Bay has the fourth-largest capacity in the NFL, with three-fourths of its seats on benches. Bowl seating makes up about 87 percent of Lambeau Field.

Regular-season ticket prices for seats between the 20 yard lines at Lambeau Field are $136. End zone seats are $109.  

Season ticket prices affect everyone because they provide the starting point for secondary market sales, which grew significantly when technology took scalpers off the street corners. Packers season ticket holders are more willing to sell their seats, too, because it helps them pay for the packages, and because technology makes it easier.

Fans complain about ticket-price increases, but season ticket turnover averages less than 1 percent a year, according to the Packers, who say they have more than 130,000 people on their waiting list. Every season ticket holder who posts on social media about not wanting to pay higher prices gets several responses from people offering to buy the tickets.

Last season was the ninth consecutive year prices increased. Ticket prices did not increase from 2007 through 2009 and the Packers fell to near the bottom of the NFL in average ticket price. Other NFL teams were not pleased, reasoning that because the Packers sell out every game and have a long waiting list, they should charge more. Visiting teams receive a share of ticket revenue.

Before increases started in 2010, end zone tickets were $59, end zone to 20-yard line were $64 and between the 20s were $72. For 2018, those tickets were $109, $122 and $136, respectively.

"Of course I would prefer to pay less, but I understand the economics of the NFL," said Daniel Spoentgen of Green Bay. "Given the economics, I am fine with the cost of the seats and the Packers' desire to remain in the middle of the league."

Albrecht, a Gold package ticket holder for more than 25 years, said they've become more a luxury item as they've taken a higher percentage of his income.

"I cannot fault the Packers for wanting to stay cost-competitive within the NFL, even  though most other businesses don’t have the luxury of increasing prices just because others do," he said. "Yet no one is putting a gun to anyone’s head to purchase tickets. It is totally voluntary, therefore the Packers can charge what they like. It is up to the customers to decide whether they are worth the price or not. So, I’m all in — at least for now."

Gary Getzin of Wausau gave up his club seats because of the cost. He also owned bowl seats, which he signed over to his daughter, more because it was time to make the change than because of the cost, which he said was not prohibitive.

Getzin, who also is a Packers shareholder, said league revenue-sharing and other revenue sources, such as the Pro Shop and Titletown District, lessens the reliance of income from ticket sales. 

"I feel the team does not need the money from higher ticket prices, and the non-profit corporation, which is really designed to be for the community in general, not for profit of shareholders, has an obligation to keep tickets as affordable as possible," he said.

"While understanding the reasons for keeping up with the average of prices in the league, I just wonder how much the board (of directors) and executive committee members discuss and appreciate the issue of having very expensive tickets for a community-owned team?"

Mike Kosidowski of Eagan, Minn., is a life-long Packers fan who's been to Lambeau Field many times, beginning when his dad brought him as a kid. He now finds the cost prohibitive and watches games from his living room.

"I truly cherish each and every game I’ve attended at Lambeau Field for I truly believe there is no better sporting venue anywhere," he said. "I can honestly say I’ve attended on average one game or more per year up until recently. It’s sad because I’ve always said I wanted to take all my kids to at least one game and, unfortunately, I still have two who haven’t experienced Lambeau Sunday yet. I’d love to go to more games, but unless things change, I don’t see it happening."

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Kosidowski is not a season ticket holder, so he mostly relies on the secondary market. He believes that professional sports in general have become too expensive for many fans. 

"Something needs to change. But with the salaries being paid now I really don’t know how that’ll happen," he said.  

The Packers are expected to announce ticket prices for 2019 in late February or early March.

Top five midfield prices

1. Los Angeles Chargers, $337.50

2. New Orleans Saints, $320

3. Carolina Panthers, $210

4. Los Angeles Rams, $202.50

5. San Francisco 49ers, $200

25. Green Bay Packers, $123

Prices are 10-game average, two preseason and eight regular season games, or nine-game average if a team is hosting a game in London. Does not include mid-field club seats. Does not includes prices for Buffalo, Dallas, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Top Five end zone prices

1. Los Angeles Chargers, $139.50

2. New England Patriots, $135

3. San Francisco 49ers, $125

4. New York Giants, $123

5. Chicago Bears, $119

20. Green Bay Packers, $98

Prices are 10-game average, two preseason and eight regular season games, or nine-game average if a team is hosting a game in London. Does not include mid-field club seats. Does not includes prices for Buffalo, Dallas, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Packers ticket prices 

  • End zone seats — $54 preseason, $109 regular season 
  • South end zone, 700 level — $59 preseason, $119 regular season 
  • End zone to 20-yard line — $62 preseason, $122 regular season 
  • South end zone, 600 level — $66 preseason, $126 regular season 
  • Between the 20-yard lines • South end zone, 600 level — $71 preseason, $136 regular season 

Five largest NFL stadiums by capacity

  • Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 93,607
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., 82,500
  • FedEx Field, Landover, Md., 82,000
  • Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis., 81,435
  • AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 80,000

 

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