Football aside, 2022 was a good year for the Green Bay Packers and its fans

Richard Ryman
Green Bay Press-Gazette
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This was not a great season for the Green Bay Packers on the football field, but off the gridiron, the team and its fans had much to celebrate.

From an English soccer team in Green Bay and an American football team in London to ongoing major construction at and around Lambeau Field, the Packers broke new ground in 2022, not the least of which was the team's report of more than a half-billion dollars in revenue.

Fans ask players for autographs after the exhibition match between FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City on Saturday, July 23, 2022 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis

Man City vs. Bayern a success

The Packers hosted a soccer friendly — an exhibition match — between two of the world's top teams, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, at Lambeau Field in July. It was the first professional soccer match at Lambeau Field and, despite thunder, lightning and rain that delayed play, it was in the end considered a success.

Attendance was 78,128, slightly more than the Packers' average of 77,991 for regular season home games the previous season. The event was estimated by Discover Green Bay tourism bureau to add $10 million to the local economy. That partially made up for the one preseason game Green Bay lost this year as a result of the NFL's unbalanced 17-game schedule and the trip to London. Regular-season home games have an estimated economic impact of more than $15 million, with preseason games generating somewhat less.

More:Rain fell, lightning flashed, but soccer prevailed at Lambeau Field in Bayern Munich and Manchester City exhibition match

Packers fans loved London

In the end, Packers fans went home disappointed by the 27-22 loss to the New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, but up until the third quarter of that game, they were having the time of their lives.

Green Bay was the last of the NFL's 32 teams to play a regular-season international game and Packers fans beyond just Green Bay embraced the opportunity with enthusiasm. The Packers have a large following across Europe and many of them made the hop to London for the Oct. 9 game.

Racine residents Allen Mierisch, left, and his husband David Gautsch socialize before the Green Bay Packers game against the New York Giants Sunday, October 9, 2022 outside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The Green Bay Packers will play their first game ever in the United Kingdom on Sunday against the New York Giants.

In the days before the game, fans wearing green and gold were seen all around central London, taking in sights such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Abbey Road. Our readers particularly liked the story about Packers alumni visiting the Abbey Road crosswalk of Beatles fame.

Steve Tuschy of Madison enjoyed seeing all the places Americans are familiar with from TV, movies and history.

"We went to Westminster Abby, the parliament area. We said, 'this is a real place. That is Buckingham palace. There are the guards.' It was great to see all the tradition London has. That's always a cool thing," he said.

More:Green Bay Packers fans from Wisconsin, to nobody's surprise, make London their own

More:From Scooby-Doo to public ownership, Europeans have unique reasons for becoming Green Bay Packers fans

More:Green Bay Packers fans love London, even if the tailgating conditions can't match Lambeau Field

By the weekend, the European fans arrived in London, creating the largest melding of U.S. and foreign Packers fans ever.

"It was always amazing to run into (European fans). You'd ask them how they became Packers fans and it was 'My dad was a Packers fan from the glory years of the 50s and 60s,' so that became their team," Tuschy said.

The Packers are not required to play an international game for another eight years, but there's the possibility they could go as the visiting team on an opponent's schedule. Judging by London, Packers fans would approve.

Stadium board survives dissolution attempt

An attempt by state Rep. David Steffen, R-Howard, to dissolve the Green Bay Brown County Professional Football Stadium District, and redistribute money designated for Lambeau Field maintenance, was abandoned in February.

Steffen's proposal to dissolve the board stemmed from his belief that it had outlived its legislative purpose, which he said was limited to overseeing the construction costs related to Lambeau Field's 2003 renovation, ensuring the bonds were properly paid, and overseeing the half-cent sales tax which helped pay for the renovation and ongoing maintenance. The sales tax ended in 2015.

More:Lack of support ends effort to disband Lambeau Field stadium district

His plan would have redistributed sales tax money set aside for the district's obligation for subsidizing Lambeau Field operation and maintenance requirements until the end of the lease in 2031. The responsibility would have been transferred to city of Green Bay taxpayers.

Ultimately, Steffen found no support for the proposal and dropped it after an agreement with the stadium board referencing transparency.

Sixth stock sale raises $65.8 million

The Packers concluded the sixth stock sale in team history in February, selling 198,000 shares and raising $65.8 million from fans in the United States and Canada. The Packers said they will use the money for Lambeau Field improvements, including concourse renovation and new larger digital scoreboards. NFL rules prohibit them from using the money for football operations.

More:Green Bay Packers fans buy 198,000 stock shares, generate $65.8 million for Lambeau Field projects

The Packers have more than 537,000 shareholders. Team stock can not be publicly traded and does not pay dividends. Shareholders get to vote on directors and some other proposals at the team's annual meeting at Lambeau Field in July.

The previous stock sale was in 2011-2012.

Packers report record revenue

Speaking of business, the Packers reported record revenue of $579 million for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended in March. The team also reported a record $231.7 million in local revenue. About 60% of the team's income comes from NFL revenue sharing, which primarily is a result of the league's media deals, including especially TV contracts.

More:With fans back in the stands in 2021, the Green Bay Packers posted a record $579 million in annual revenue

The Packers benefited from a post-COVID-19 rebound, after the 2020 season was basically devoid of in-person fans. The pandemic isn't over, but the country mostly went back to behaving like it was and the NFL, including the Packers, returned to full stadiums. Packers vice president of finance Paul Baniel said the Packers Pro Shop had it's best year.

Packers put their money to work

The Packers don't allow all that revenue to sit unused in their bank account. Construction at Lambeau Field and the adjacent Titletown District has become a year-round affair.

More:There are many renovation projects taking place at Lambeau Field this offseason

At Lambeau Field, the team is expanding its player facility, relocating coaches offices and adding underground parking for players and coaches. Renovation of its concourses and concessions stands continues and new, larger digital scoreboards will be installed next year.

In the Titletown District west of the stadium, construction started earlier in December on the final six townhouses in its residential development. Additional land for other residential development remains, as does about 100,000 square feet along Lombardi Avenue slated for commercial and retail development.

No draft yet, but team remains hopeful

One thing that didn't happen last year was Green Bay being awarded an NFL draft, but the Packers remain hopeful, confident even, that will happen for either 2025 or 2027.

More:Five reasons why Green Bay and the Packers should host an NFL draft

"We'll be given strong consideration. We've been close on other ones, too," Murphy said after the 2024 draft was awarded to Detroit.

The draft could bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Green Bay over the three days of the event, not counting television crews, NFL staffers and others needed for its production who would be here for about a week. Philadelphia reported 250,000 attendees in 2017, Nashville claimed 600,000 in 2019, Cleveland 160,000 in 2021, and Las Vegas 300,000 in 2022. No in-person draft was held in 2020 because of the pandemic.

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

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