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Packers game is welcome news to local retailers

  • Associated Press
  • January 2, 2014 - 10:20 AM

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The upcoming Green Bay game isn't just good news for Packers fans — it could generate more than $13 million for the local economy.

AECOM Technical Services, a consulting firm, estimated in 2009 that out-of-town visitors for a Packers' game spent about $12.3 million in Green Bay and Brown County, Press-Gazette Media reported (http://gbpg.net/1dd2azS ).

The team has since added 7,000 seats at Lambeau Field, and the per-game estimate has risen to almost $13.5 million.

Visitors patronize restaurants, bars, hotels, gas stations and souvenir stores, and the spending extends well beyond game day.

Fridays are already busy at Titletown Brewery, said owner Brent Weycker, but a Sunday playoff game means people stay in town for the whole weekend. He estimated that sales this week will be 10 percent to 20 percent higher than in a normal week.

"Having a Sunday game is way better for us," he said. "We'll get a lot after the game."

Lawry Larson, who runs the Hampton Inn in Ashwaubenon, said his hotel will sell out its 114 rooms this weekend.

"Everybody should fill up if priced correctly," he said. "If you look at the big picture, you have 80,000 seats in Lambeau. Brown County has only 4,000 rooms."

Some business owners pointed out that if the Packers lose, disappointed fans are less inclined to stick around and celebrate. Nonetheless, they're enjoying the boost that comes from a playoff game that only got nailed down on the last day of the regular season.

Jess Miller, who owns Hagemeister Park restaurant in downtown Green Bay, said Sunday's game gives local businesses a promising start to 2014.

"Not only January, but this probably gets the whole quarter off to a good start," Miller said.

© 2014 Star Tribune