Lambeau Field is an outdoor football stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Opened in 1957 as City Stadium, it replaced the original City Stadium as the Packers' home field. For that reason, it was also informally known as New City Stadium until 1965, when it was renamed in memory of Packers founder, player, and long-time head coach, Curly Lambeau, who had died earlier in the year.
Lambeau Field was the first stadium built for the exclusive use of an NFL team, and is the longest continuously-occupied stadium in the NFL.
The stadium's street address has been 1265 Lombardi Avenue since 1968, when Highland Avenue was renamed in honor of Vince Lombardi. It sits on a block bounded by Lombardi Avenue (north); Oneida Street (east); Stadium Drive and Valley View Road (south); and Ridge Road (west). The playing field at the stadium sits at an elevation of 640 feet (195 m) above sea level.
Packers need a modern facility
In 1955, the other NFL owners had threatened to force the franchise to move to Milwaukee if the stadium conditions in Green Bay were not improved. In 1956, Green Bay voters responded by approving (70.3%) a bond issue to finance the new stadium. The original cost in 1957 was $960,000 (paid off in 1978) and its seating capacity was 32,500.
The new stadium would be the first modern stadium built specifically for an NFL franchise. At that time, all the other NFL teams were playing either in facilities shared with Major League Baseball teams, or in other pre-existing shared facilities.
The site, now bordered on three sides by the village of Ashwaubenon, was selected because it had a natural slope, ideal for creating the bowl shape. The nearby outdoor practice fields (Clarke Hinkle Field and Ray Nitschke Field) and Don Hutson Center are all in Ashwaubenon, as was the Packers Hall of Fame until 2003.
The new City Stadium was officially opened on September 29, 1957, as the Packers beat the Chicago Bears 21–17. In a ceremony before the game, the stadium was dedicated by Vice President, Richard Nixon.
Although they now had a modern facility in Green Bay, the Packers continued their tradition (since 1933) of playing two or three regular-season games a year at County Stadium in Milwaukee, 120 miles to the south. Beginning in 1995, regular-season games were no longer scheduled in Milwaukee, and Lambeau Field became their only home field. Former Milwaukee ticket holders receive tickets to a preseason game and games 2 and 5 of the regular season home schedule, in what is referred to as the "Gold package." Green Bay season ticket holders receive tickets to the remaining home games as part of their "Green package."
Demand for tickets at the new stadium easily outstripped supply, not coincidentally after the arrival of coach Vince Lombardi in 1959. In 1961, four years after it opened, the stadium's capacity was increased to 38,669.
Since then, the Packers have been regularly increasing the seating capacity. The bowl was increased to 42,327 in 1963, to 50,852 in 1965 and to 56,263 in 1970, when the stadium was fully enclosed for the first time as the various stands were joined into one continuous oval around the field.
Construction of 72 private boxes in 1985 increased the seating capacity to 56,926, and a 1990 addition of 36 additional boxes and 1,920 theatre-style club seats brought the number to 59,543. In 1995, a $4.7-million project put 90 more private boxes in the previously open north end zone, again giving the stadium the feel of a complete bowl and increasing capacity to 60,890.
By the end of the 1990s, the Packers believed that they needed to update the facility to remain financially competitive in the NFL. Rather than build a new stadium, Chairman/CEO Bob Harlan and President/COO John Jones unveiled a $295 million plan to renovate Lambeau Field in January 2000. It was to be paid for partly by the team via the 1997-98 stock sale, which netted more than $20 million. Most of the proceeds were to be paid through a 0.5% sales tax in Brown County and personal seat license fees on season ticket holders. After their plan won approval by the Wisconsin State Legislature, it was ratified by Brown County voters on September 12, 2000 by a 53%-47% margin. Construction began early in 2001.
The massive redevelopment plan was designed to update the facilities, add more premium and suite seating, yet preserve the seating bowl, keeping the storied natural grass playing field of the "frozen tundra." The project was completed in time for the 2003 season, bringing the current capacity to 72,928. Construction management was conducted by Turner Construction Sports, and proved to be of remarkably little disruption to the 2001 and 2002 seasons. By contrast, the Chicago Bears were forced to relocate to Memorial Stadium of the University of Illinois in Champaign in 2002 while Soldier Field was reconfigured.
The Packers have now been tenants at Lambeau Field longer than any other NFL team has occupied its own current stadium. In 2007, the Packers completed their 51st season at Lambeau, surpassing the all-time NFL occupancy record set by the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field (1921–70). (While Soldier Field in Chicago has been the site of a football stadium longer, it was not the home of the Bears until 1971.) Only Major League Baseball's the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley can boast of longer active home-field tenures in American professional sports.
Although the capacity has more than doubled since Lambeau Field was opened, demand for tickets remains high: season tickets have been sold out since 1960, and more than 81,000 names remain on the waiting list (with a reported average wait time of 30 years).
During the 2007 season, Lambeau Field was voted the number one NFL stadium in game-day atmosphere and fan experience by a Sports Illustrated online poll.
In 2009, The Sports Turf Managers Association named Lambeau Field the 2009 Field of the Year.
Through the 2009 season, the Packers have compiled a 182-106-4 (.631) regular season mark at Lambeau Field.
The "Lambeau Leap"
Many Packer players jump into the end zone stands in a celebration affectionately known as the "Lambeau Leap." The Lambeau Leap was invented by safety LeRoy Butler, who scored after a Reggie White fumble recovery and lateral against the L.A. Raiders in December 1993. It was later popularized by wide receiver Robert Brooks.
Today, the Lambeau Leap is a popular touchdown celebration done by players on many different teams, with "Lambeau" changed to the team or stadium's name, for example the Detroit Lions call it a "Lions Leap".
Occasionally, a visiting player will attempt a Lambeau Leap, only to be denied by Packers fans. This happened to then-Minnesota Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. During the 2007 NFC Championship game, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs faked a Lambeau Leap after scoring a touchdown, angering many Green Bay faithful in the stands. Before a game against the Packers on September 20, 2009, Cincinnati Bengals wideout Chad Ochocinco announced he would do a Lambeau Leap if he scored a touchdown, and then followed through by leaping into the arms of pre-arranged fans wearing Bengals jerseys. Willis McGahee successfully did a Lambeau Leap into Ravens fans in a game between the Packers and Baltimore Ravens. In 2019, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert did a Lambeau Leap into Eagles fans in the first row during a Thursday Night Football game between the Eagles and the Packers.
Originally, music at Lambeau Field was provided by the Packers' Lumberjack Band. The live band has been replaced by recorded music.
Whenever the Packers score a touchdown, the Todd Rundgren hit "Bang the Drum All Day" is played. This tradition began in 1995 and has since been copied by a few other teams around the NFL.
"Go! You Packers! Go!", the team's fight song, is played at Lambeau Field immediately following the Packers' player introductions and after each extra point scored by the Packers.
The "Go Pack Go" jingle is usually played when the team is on defense or during the start of a drive on offense. A song built around this jingle is "Go Pack Go!" by The 6 Packers.
The House of Pain hit "Jump Around" is often played during one time-out at Lambeau, resulting in widespread jumping around by the crowd. This tradition began due to the popularity of the same song/crowd-participation tradition at the University of Wisconsin football games.
- LambeauField.com - official website
- Green Bay Press Gazette - Lambeau memories at 50 - 2007
- Lambeau Field timeline from PackersNews.com
- PackersNews.com - Lambeau Field
- Packers yearly results
- Packers game results
- Lambeau Cam from Packers.com
- Don't bet on UW football at Lambeau, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Feb. 15, 2006
- Google Maps aerial photograph - aerial photograph and topographic map
- ESPN.com, "Lambeau or Bust: NFL Experience Incomplete Without a Trip to Green Bay"
- Lambeau's impact pegged at nearly $282 million