Another gate locked up at Lambeau

The Green Bay Packers announced today that the organization has expanded its sponsorship agreement with Associated Banc-Corp. The Green Bay bank is the fourth company to enter a long-term agreement to sponsor a primary gate at Lambeau Field.<p>

The Packers are likely to announce a fifth and final gate sponsor within the next six weeks. The $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field is expected to be completed in time for the start of the regular season.

Associated Bank's 10-year deal with the Packers includes sponsorship of the sole premium seat gate at the stadium, sponsorship of the Club Level and rights to use Packers team marks. It also will be designated as the official bank of the Packers and have signage throughout Lambeau Field.

The bank, with more than $15 billion in total assets, and the Packers have been affiliated for many years.

"We share so many values that Associated Bank represents that we feel very comfortable and very honored to be entering this partnership with them," said John Jones, the team's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

"When we have problems or needs, we turn to our team at Associated and they have been very, very supportive of us, and have given us banking solutions that have been very effective in the community."

Miller Brewing and Oneida Nation claimed both entrances to the Titletown atrium last summer. Verizon Wireless sponsors one of the two regular admission seating gates on the west side of the stadium.

Terms of Associated's deal were not disclosed. However it is believed that Miller, which signed a 10-year agreement and has the major gate, is paying the Packers more than $2 million a year. Oneida has the second largest gate, down from Miller's on the east side of the stadium, facing the main parking lot.

"We would have loved to have the Oneida Gate but we couldn't afford it," said Associated Bank President and C.E.O. Robert Gallagher. "Frankly, we had considered it for a while. Certainly when the Packers gave us the opportunity to participate at the level they did, we thought it was appropriate.

"As a bank, we like to project an image of quality. That premium gate does give us that image, as does the club section of our advertising agreement. People in club seats, people in boxes, we'd like to have all of them as customers."

Club seats average about $200 per seat. The cost of leasing luxury boxes, which are sold out, begins at around $60,000 per season.

Associated's Club Level sponsorship is located in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

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