Green Bay Packers training camp is a draw for people all across the country and the world.
And that has a multi-million-dollar impact on the area.
“That will have about a $9 million impact on our local economy,” said Brad Toll of the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.
But as training camp continues, some of those die-hard Packers fans are noticing a difference in the amount of open practices to the public.
In 2010, there were 24 open practices for fans. From 2011 to 2013, there were 20 open practices. This year, there are 17 practices open to fans.
Toll says with the lower number of open practices this year, that economic impact could take a million-dollar hit.
“But we could very easily see that number stay the same with more people coming to practices that there are,” Toll said.
“I like the concept of more open practices. Anytime you can give the fans access to the players, I think that’s great.”
“I understand that it’s a toll on their bodies,” said John Parlow of Green Bay. “I’d rather have a player know his playbook than practice something he’s been practicing since he was 10 years old.”
“I think there should be more. Obviously it brings the fans together,” said Chase Morrison of Green Bay.
“It would help to have more to keep the people interested if you had more open practices but if they have something they want to keep private and don’t want anybody to know, they should do it,” said Tim Holochwost of Bark River, Michigan.
With fewer open practices, some business owners say it could mean less business going in and out of the door. Jerry Watson owns Stadium View Bar and Grill and he says during last year’s training camp, business tripled.
“When (fans) aren’t at practice they’re going elsewhere to eat,” Watson said. “If you look up the street, it’s a mob of people right now and when they get done they come mostly one way: this way.”
Just to give you a little bit more perspective on open practices: When Mike Sherman was coach back in 2000, the Packers had 51 open practices. Sometimes those practices were twice a day but the 2011 collective bargaining agreement between the players’ union and NFL team owners prohibits two-a-day practices.