Packers business chat with Richard Ryman

Packers business chat with Richard Ryman

Richard Ryman answers readers' questions about Packers ticket prices, Titletown Tech, townhouses and more at noon Tuesday.

    Good afternoon. We've already got some great questions, but certainly will accept more. Let's start with this one that Steve sent me via Twitter. 

    Doing away with traditional tickets for digital tickets. The WiFi is still spotty at best around Lambeau, no more tix stubs as souvenirs. What the real reason for doing away with them?

     
    There are a couple of reasons for that. The secondary market is certainly driving people toward digital ticketing. It's more efficient and provides better safeguards against fraud. A growing number of NFL teams are moving toward all-digital ticketing as well, for the same reasons.
    The downsides are, as you alluded to, quality of mobile device reception at stadiums, and the certainty the technology will always work. Sometimes it doesn't. There also are still folks who aren't fully on board with smart phones and the like. I talked to somebody the other day who still has a flip phone.
    That said, the Packers have only partially adopted digital. They still send paper tickets to their season ticket holders, in part because they know fans like to have the stubs as souvenirs. I don't know how long they will keep doing that, but they've haven't indicated they'll abandon it anytime soon.
    packers tickets for games at Lambeau field cost big money on the secondary market. why don't the Packers raise prices so they can pocket that money?

    -david
    David, that's a good question. Most of the time, I hear fans saying they should lower prices.
     
    They probably could raise prices and not a few of their NFL partners would be glad they did. The Packers are caught between competing forces on ticket prices. Other NFL teams, which share ticket revenue, would like to see them go higher, especially given their 130,000-person waiting list, but they also are mindful of keeping season ticket holders happy, or at least not making them so unhappy they revolt. The Packers have decided to split the difference, trying to maintain an average ticket price in the middle of the league. It seems to be working for them.

    Also, if they raised prices, the secondary market would just go higher as well. Season ticket holders benefit from prices not going too high, because it gives them a better opportunity to benefit from selling on the secondary market, which a lot of them do to help cover the cost of the tickets.
     
    Fortunately, they don’t rely on tickets prices for most of their revenue. As long as the NFL can continue to print money, and the teams continue to share revenue, the Packers should be in good shape.

     
    Richard, have the prices for the townhomes been established yet?

    -John Burgoyne
    Hi Richard. Living in a more expensive housing market (Portland, OR), where many people are migrating from even more expensive markets in search of "bargains", I never get used to just how much more affordable it is in the Midwest. Can you give me an idea of the price range for townhomes in the Titletown District? And I'm not sure what phase you're in on the residential side, but do you have demographics relative to the rest of Green Bay and Wisconsin at large?

    -PortlandPackFan
    I get a lot of questions about the townhouses and apartments the Packers plan for Titletown District.
     
    The short answer is no, they haven’t announced prices, and I’m not entirely sure when they will. But construction is expected to start this summer, so I would expect that information will be available soon.
     
    I believe they are trying to find price ranges that straddle the line between unaffordable and so cheap that people buy them just to flip them. Their vision is for these to be occupied full time by people who want to live there, not just to be used as party houses and game day pads. According to Zillow, the median listing price of homes sold in the Green Bay market is $140,700. Purely speculation on my part, but I’m guessing they’ll be above that.

    I will report the information as soon as it becomes available.
     
    In the end, the market will decide, as it always does.
    I admit this is a little voyeuristic, but I've really enjoyed your stories and tours on the Packer people selling their houses. Have you ever considered a series along the lines of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Packers"? Rich of course being a play on your name.

    -Jackie
    Don't feel bad, Jackie. You are not alone. My stories on coaches' and players' houses being for sale are among the most-read of the year. I could take your suggestion and go full People magazine. I'm sure it would be a hit.
    Is there an estimate of the existing and full development revenue potential from the entire development for the Packers?

    -Rich-Eagle River
    I'm certain the Packers have one, but they haven't shared it with me. The Packers have to share more information on their finances than any NFL team because they are publicly owned, but they don't share more than they have to. We are left to try to divine the impacts from their annual reports, and it will be a couple years before we start seeing notable changes there.
    Richard, do u have any idea of how much the packers spend on coaching staff -a total of all coaches & training staff? Also, in recent years, bigger nfl TV contracts have led to ever-increasing annual salary caps. Do u see any sign of the increases slowing down or leveling off, in the next 3-6 years?

    -Jonathan
    Jonathan, that's a little bit outside my area, but from talking to our football guys, I think as a general rule, head coaches can be as high as $11 million to $12 million range, coordinators get about $1 million and the other coaches in six digits. McCarthy might have been getting $9 million to $11 million at the end of his time here, which put him near the top of the NFL. I imagine LaFleur is starting lower.
    I don't see the salary cap leveling off any time soon. I've seen reports that the NFL could greatly increase it's national revenue by signing contracts with media other than television -- like Twitter, for example -- and television deals keep increasing, too. 
    The current collective bargaining agreement ends after the 2020 season, so anything is possible in a new CBA.
    I wonder about the effects of an inevitable Packers on-field performance downturn on all of this development, party homes, restaurants, etc. Any thoughts?

    -Brian
    There is no question that winning is critical to their financial performance. They've got a great brand and a lot of goodwill, but that will erode over time if they go through another 30 year period of mediocrity. They are not unaware, which is why they are developing things like TitletownTech, which will succeed or fail on it's own and is not related to football performance.
    Richard, I'm curious about Titletown Tech. Do the Packers and Microsoft see Bay Area-type tech incubating there? It seems like there isn't an economy / the talent for it in the Green Bay area. Is this just a tax write-off for Microsoft and the Packers and the building will set 80% vacant?

    -Andy
    They are serious about TitletownTech. It's a chicken and egg situation. Do you build TitletownTech because talent is here, or to attract talent to here? The Packers have said from the beginning that Titletown District was being developed in part to attract and retain younger workers. Other businesses, such as Schreiber Foods, are doing what they can along the same lines. They have a business plan that will focus on innovation and technology improvements for businesses that are prevalent in Northeastern Wisconsin, which seems like the right place to start.
    I realize that the Packers keep raising ticket prices to stay in the middle of the pack (no pun intended) pricewise as compared to other NFL teams, but the increasing cost drives many season ticket holders to sell at least some of their tickets on the secondary market, which in turn results in far too many fans of the Packers opponents at Lambeau Field, thereby hurting the Packers home field advantage. Comments?

    -Mtnman
    The secondary market is certainly changing the makeup of fans across the NFL. We probably are getting more opposing fans at Lambeau Field, but Packers fans are able to invade opposing stadiums by ever-increasing numbers, too. I'm told the number of Packers fans at the Rams game last year in Los Angeles was startlingly high. I suspect the Rams weren't happy about that.
    Higher prices have motivated, perhaps even forced, many season ticket holders to sell on the secondary market, but that market would probably draw people in anyway. It's so much easier than standing on a street corner trying to sell your tickets and people inevitably will take advantage of that.
    Hi Rich! Any word on when the other commercial building will be constructed? That would be the two next to Titletown Tech. Any rumblings of what other types of restaurants, commercial we can expect to see?

    -Ryan
    They have room for one or two more commercial buildings along Lombardi Avenue, on the north side of the district. They haven't announced anything. I think they want to get the new office building along Marlee Lane and the apartments/townhouses done first. That said, I know they would like a grocery store/Trader Joe's kind of business in the district and haven't given up on that. They did announce a TopGolf kind of restaurant in the TitletownTech building last week.
    Hey Richard - thanks for opening up the doors on a growing importance of the Packerss.Are the Packers still acquiring houses/land around the stadium or have they gotten what they need. Has there been any acquisition in other parts of Green Bay that they could use?

    -Chris
    I have not looked recently --- thanks for the reminder, I need to do that --- but my understanding is they’ve got all the land they need to keep them busy for now. There are a couple of parcels south of Lambeau Field they’d like to have, but even they have limits on how much they are willing to play.

    I don’t think they have any interest in other parts of town. Their focus is on the Lambeau Field neighborhood and the Lombardi Avenue corridor.
     
    Do you believe Peter King report that NFL will make packers play in London next year?

    -Larry
    Far be it from me to question Peter King's sources, but whether they go to London will depend on who's on the Packers' schedule next year. The Packers have made it clear they will not give up a home game to go to London and I don't think the NFL will make them do so. That means the pressure will be on the other team to give up a home game against the Packers, which none have been willing to do. If I understand the rotation correctly, the Packers will play the AFC South and the NFC South next year. So we'll have to wait to see who's playing in London next year, if any of them are on the Packers schedule, and if the Packers are scheduled to play them on the road. 
    It gets pretty narrow in a hurry. 
    Rich, any idea how the replacement of the Brown County Arena will effect parking at the Resch Center? That is where I like to park on game day.

    -Robert Schuknecht
    Robert, not sure which side of the Resch you are talking about. If it's on the Lombardi Avenue side, maybe that still will be available, though I suspect it might not be while construction is under way. It's a good question and I'll ask the PMI folks.
    Has there been any word on the Packers working with additional developers to expand the footprint of the District? Have they worked with the City of Green Bay to help develop the very slow moving Legends District? Also, any word on the Packers building a new practice facility in the vicinity?

    -Ryan
    I have heard of no district expansion at this point. They are working with other developers, such as Commercial Horizons on the office building at the west end, within the district. The Legends District is moving slowly in comparison with Titletown District, but I think the Packers are focused on their own project.
    As to a new practice facility, former Ashwaubenon Village President Mike Aubinger told me he thought the Packers would eventually build a practice facility south of the stadium, but the Packers haven't talked about their long-term thinking, and I think that would be quite long term. For what it's worth, they just replaced the playing surface in the Don Hutson Center, so I don't think they're going anywhere for a while. 
    Did Coach McCarthy ever have the media over to his home for cocktails like Coach Lombardi did? Did you participate?

    -Cliff
    If he did, he never invited me.
    Yes, the Lombardi Avenue side. Any progress on the proposed office building at the north east corner of Lombardi Avenue and Ridge Rd.?

    -Robert Schuknecht
    Robert: I've not heard about that project recently. It's not one the Packers are involved in, although I suspect their plans might have affected that project.
    Hi Richard, Rumor has it that the Packers are looking at other venues for training camp rather than St. Norbert College. What have you heard?

    -ralph
    I had not heard that. The actual training camp takes place across from Lambeau Field and I cannot imagine that's going to change. I think I read recently that a Packers coach once talked about moving training camp and he was quickly disabused on the notion. That Packers use St. Norbert to house the players during training camp to keep them focused on the business at hand. Not sure where else in Green Bay they could do that.
    Ok folks, you get a rare live-chat treat: Breaking news.

    Along the lines of what we've been talking about, Associated Bank just sent out a notice saying they are going to build a new flagship branch in the TitletownTech building. I guess I better wrap this up and find out what that's all about.

    Thanks to everyone who participated. Really good questions all around, and if others occur to you, don't hesitate to email me or seek me out on Twitter or my Richard Ryman - Press-Gazette Facebook page.
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