2002 Packers shareholder's meeting

The Green Bay Packers conducted their annual shareholder's meeting today at the Brown County Arena across the street from Lambeau Field.<p>

About 2,000 shareholders attended the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, soaking in reports from various members of the board of directors, a state of the team address from head coach and general manager Mike Sherman, a first-ever salary cap report by vice president of player finance and general counsel Andrew Brandt, and an update on the Lambeau Field renovation by Robert Dunn of the Hammes Co.

The meeting concluded with about a dozen questions from shareholders. Here are some of the questions, along with responses from Packers president Bob Harlan:

Q: Will the public be allowed tour the team's football facilities, or its indoor practice facility, the Don Hutson Center?

Packers president Bob Harlan: "Unfortunately, because of construction, (not being able to conduct a) tour is one of the inconveniences ... but if we can work anything out, we will do it, I promise you. (Regarding the Hutson Center tour) Maybe we can arrange that next year prior to the meeting. Maybe we can have the Hutson Center open."

Q: Will the parking situation improve around the stadium?

Harlan: "Several of the businesses down Lombardi Avenue opened up lots during the season. Interestingly enough at kickoff, many of those lots were still very, very vacant. People chose to use side streets. We found that people coming in from Milwaukee even found a way to go to the side streets.

"I know it's not perfect. We lost 600 parking spaces (due to construction). ... I think the parking will improve next year. We will keep the lots on Lombardi. We're working with (the village of) Ashwaubenon to improve location. It has been a priority. It will continue to be a priority."

Q: Why do most opposing teams stay outside of Green Bay and Brown County?

Harlan: "Basically it's because the hotels for this area are totally booked for every Packer weekend (applause from crowd). ... That's a tribute to our fans. They want to be here. ... (Opposing teams) would love to stay here, but they really have no choice."

Q: Why were Milwaukee ticket holders cut one game when team decided to play all of its home games at Lambeau Field in 1995? Why not split the games down the middle?

Harlan: "First of all, by playing four games in Milwaukee, we were leaving two-and-a-half million dollars on the table every year because there are so many more sources of revenue at Lambeau Field than County Stadium. At the same time, the people who attended games at County Stadium, their parents and their grandparents gave this franchise great support for over 60 years, so when we made the decision to abandon the stadium, we were not going to abandon our fans. We brought the fans from Milwaukee to Green Bay. Ninety-six percent of Milwaukee ticket-holders took the package. The number one complaint of Milwaukee ticket holders is: ‘We did lose one game.' On the other hand, the fans in Green Bay always felt that if the entire schedule ever moved there, they would get all of the games. They would say, ‘You're going to tell me that I've been sitting in those same seats for the last 40 years and somebody else is going to get them for three games?' I said, ‘Yep, that's exactly what it is.' Both sides had to give a little. ... I think it has worked out to be a huge public relations plus when it could have been a huge, public relations problem."

Q: Are we going to keep the name, Lambeau Field?

Harlan: "I hope so. I've said this publicly, we have a referendum and the referendum tells us we have to listen to what voters say. The voters say to pursue naming rights, and we will work with the City of Green Bay. But we fought very hard to save Lambeau Field. ... If we're going to save the stadium, we're also going to fight to save the name. ... I think it's important to keep the tradition, and cherish the tradition we've got."

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