Lambeau Field will welcome paying fans for the first time this season when the Green Bay Packers host the Los Angeles Rams for Saturday’s Divisional Round playoff game.
Tickets went on sale Tuesday morning, and are only available to season ticket holders who vote before the start of the season, according to a news release from the team. Less than three hours after it became available, the Packers announced tickets were sold out.
The Packers plan to accommodate about 6,000 ticket fans – accounting for less than 10 percent of the stadium’s capacity. Invited health workers and first responders will also attend the match, according to a news releases from the team.
Dave Shambeau, from Waupaca, hasn’t missed many of the Packers’ home games since he became a season ticket holder some five years ago. His wife was able to log on to Ticketmaster and pick up six tickets for their family to attend Saturday’s game, he said.
“I feel good enough to go. It’s been a long time. We went to the Seattle Seahawks playoffs about a year ago and you never thought it would be another year before you left again,” he said.
It wasn’t a difficult decision when the team asked season ticket holders to opt in or out for this year due to the pandemic, said Shambeau.
He was not worried about the coronavirus while attending Saturday’s match, he said. His family already has it, plus the games will be played outside and everyone will be bundled up in the cold, he said. There were about 15,000 fans at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami for Monday night’s national college football championships, and there appeared to be a lot of room between groups, said Shambeau.
In Packers games, fans will sit in social distancing pods of two, four, or six people. Tickets cannot be resold. In fact, season ticket holders who buy seats must be present for their entourage to enter, according to the team.
Inside the stadium, fans will be required to wear facemasks, concessions are non-cashable, and concourses will be prepared for one-way traffic, according to the team.
The Packers have hosted invited fans in their last four regular season home games. In a statement, president and CEO Mark Murphy said the team was confident the protocols practiced in the games would translate to a safe event on Saturday.
“Our players enjoy the energy given by the limited fans we have had over the last four games,” he said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming our season ticket holders to add to that atmosphere in the playoffs.”
If Green Bay wins Saturday, the Packers will win host NFC Championship matches against the New Orleans Saints or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, January 24.
Doctors, Health Officials Consider
While Saturday will mark the first time ticketed fans visit Lambeau Field this season, nationwide more than 1 million spectators have attended more than 100 NFL games during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Packers, the local health department has not linked the outbreak to any of those occurrences.
“Obviously this is not the same as a regular playoff game. There will be a lot less attendance than before,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk, who encouraged fans to wear masks, keep their distance, wash their hands and avoid tailgating, which is prohibited. team in the Lambeau Field parking lot.
Saturday’s match will be a test to see how well fans follow protocol, he said.
The Packers are working with Brown County public health officials and their partners at Bellin Health to establish fan policy for Saturday’s games.
“Regular season matches have demonstrated precautionary measures that will prevent further spread of the virus, and we hope this will continue to show that although we may have to make adjustments in order to coexist with the virus, it is possible to make the necessary changes that will allow us to stop the spread of the virus. as a community, “said infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Landrum, of Bellin Health, in a statement.
The Packers also asked those who did not attend games to adhere to public health guidelines when they watched them on television.
‘Every Slight of Improvement is Very, Very Welcome’
Shambeau and his family plan to stick to their usual routine when traveling for Saturday’s matches. They usually park around six blocks from Lambeau Square, he said.
“The same nice guy is there all the time, and if he’s not there this time, I’ll just leave a note on my car that says: ‘Hey Don, I owe you $ 10 when I see you again, Because with only 6,000. (fans) I don’t know if all of these people will open up, “he said.
After drinking a beer, they will head to Kroll’s West, a restaurant near the stadium.
Brad Toll, president and CEO of the Great Green Bay Visitors & Convention Bureau, said restaurants and hotels across the region have adopted new safety policies in response to the pandemic, with input from Brown County and state health officials.
“We are absolutely ready to welcome all fans who feel comfortable coming to the community and attending matches, and we only ask that they follow the guidelines set by restaurants and hotels, including masking, of course, and washing their hands regularly and things- things we all know, “he said.
Typically, the Packers home game injects about $ 15 million into the local economy, says Toll. But the economic impact of Saturday’s playoffs is hard to predict. Given the unusual circumstances this year, it is difficult to know whether most of the tickets were awarded to local fans or whether people will be traveling for the games, he said.
This year’s playoff will be different for Green Bay hotels and restaurants. However, the city is dotted with greens and gold, and the area’s hospitality industry is delighted some fans will be watching Saturday’s game, said Toll.
“It’s been a very difficult year for tourism, so a little encouragement is very, very welcome at this point,” he said.
As Wisconsin ‘s COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue, Toll said he is optimistic about travel, and later this year, the convention industry will pick up too.