Green Bay will host 2025 draft, but NFL will be in charge

Richard Ryman
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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GREEN BAY – Green Bay will host the 2025 National Football League draft, but in all respects, it will be an NFL event.

"This is really the NFL's business," Gabrielle Dow, Packers vice president of marketing and fan engagement, said during a press conference Wednesday at Lambeau Field. "The NFL benefits from this and keeps all ancillary revenue. And their sponsors are tied to this as well."

That means the league will decide all of the details, including where the main stage is, one of the questions frequently asked. Like everyone else, the Packers would like to know, too. They suggested it be inside Lambeau Field. The stage has been about 100 yards wide, so that limits the number of places it could go, Dow said.

Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy speaks during a press conference on May 24, 2023, following the announcement that the 2025 NFL Draft will be held in and around Lambeau Field.

NFL representatives will come to Green Bay in June for a site visit, the first of many over the next two years.

The main stage, NFL Experience, green room, media center, red carpet and fan areas will all take place on the Lambeau Field campus, which for the purpose of the draft will include Lambeau, the Titletown District, Resch Center and Resch Expo.

After chasing their goal for seven years, the Packers learned on May 9 that the draft would come to Lambeau Field, but they had to wait three more weeks before it would be approved by league owners.

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"Mark (Murphy) called me on May 9 to say we've got it, but we have to wait for the ownership to vote, and my life flashed before my eyes," said Dow, who led the effort to secure the NFL's premier non-football event for northeastern Wisconsin.

The draft is projected to generate overall attendance of 240,000 over three days, $20 million in local economic impact and $94 million in statewide impact.

"We are building an experience that is bigger than ourselves," said Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. "It is an incredible, once-in-a-generation opportunity that will create a lasting legacy for Wisconsin. It will be exciting. It's an awful lot of work. We have less than two years, but we're ready to get started."

Discover Green Bay president and CEO Brad Toll speaks during a press conference on May 24, 2023, following the announcement that the 2025 NFL Draft will be held in and around Lambeau Field.

When will the draft be held?

The NFL held the draft the final weekend in April the last several years, but Dow said three dates are under consideration, including the first weekend in May. This year it was held April 27-29 in Kansas City.

What is different about this draft than previous ones?

The Packers are the first NFL team to take the lead in hosting a draft. In other cities, local tourism bureaus or community committees were the leaders.

"Cleveland, Nashville, Kansas City, all those organizations like ours have $20 million budgets and about 60 people on staff," Toll said. "We have 14 (staffers)."

That made the Packers' involvement essential, and was the one area where Green Bay being the NFL's smallest market was a deterrent. Otherwise, Murphy and Dow said the NFL was not concerned about Green Bay's size.

What will this cost the community?

The budget is $7.5 million, which will cover services, advertising and other infrastructure. It could increase.

The Packers pledged $1 million to the budget. A request was made to get $2 million from the state (it's part of the current budget proposal), and the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football District, the Lambeau Field landlord, pledged money. About $4 million more will need to be raised, Dow said.

"Financially, we are not going to make money on it," Murphy said of the Packers' involvement.

Are there enough hotel rooms?

Primarily, the issue is providing enough hotel rooms for NFL, network and contractor personnel. "If we would not have had that space reserved, yeah, it wouldn't have been good," Toll said. "We have all of the space the NFL needs all reserved already. We are in good shape there."

Organizers did not block out entire hotels, so some rooms remain in each for fans.

Murphy said they've talked about bringing in cruise ships if Great Lake conditions permit.

"We've had some discussions also with Amtrak about the possibility of running train service up from Milwaukee," Murphy said.

How many people are coming to Green Bay?

"This one by far is the largest event we've ever been a part of, and really probably the largest event that will ever come to Green Bay," Toll said. "The only thing bigger (in the NFL) is the Super Bowl."

Organizers estimate attendance of about 240,000, but a word on that. The estimate is not for 240,000 unique visitors. It could be 80,000 people coming back all three days of the draft, or any combination of new and returning visitors. That is analogous to a Packers' home game, but would differ in that more people would be staying overnight.

More:What to know about tickets for the 2025 NFL draft in Green Bay. Is there a cost?

Unlike in the bigger cities that hosted the draft — such as Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas, to name several — most of the fans won't be residents of the host city.

"A lot of people drove into Cleveland. That bodes well for us spreading the impact of this event all over the state of Wisconsin," Toll said. "We fully expect fans will be staying overnight in cities throughout Wisconsin."

Who will benefit?

Retail, lodging, and food and beverage spending is the highest for such events. Toll said it might seem strange that people would come to an event and go shopping, but they do. As an example, he said the WIAA girls high school basketball tournament held in Ashwaubenon in March prompts local dress stores to tell brides to not come in that week because tournament attendees are shopping for prom dresses.

"That spend goes through the community and it goes through a lot of different places," he said.

Popkey said the NFL has a business-connect program, and the Packers, Greater Green Bay Chamber and New North will be involved as well.

More broadly, Murphy said, "As we look at it, this is going to benefit the Packers, Green Bay and Wisconsin for years to come. You can't put a dollar figure on the publicity, what that's going to mean to people five, 10 years from now who come visit Green Bay because 'I saw all the different things they have to do here.' Not maybe to visit, but to live."

Contact Richard Ryman at Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at

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