Green Bay Area Lawmakers Request $2 Million in State Funds to Support NFL Draft at Legendary Lambeau Field

Two Green Bay lawmakers are asking for $2 million from state taxpayers to help cover the costs of Title Town hosting the 2025 NFL draft.

State Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) (pictured above, left) and State Representative David Steffen (R-Green Bay) (pictured above, right) argue the return on investment will be significant, with the widely watched NFL draft expected to generate some $94 million for the state — $20 million to Green Bay alone.

“A $2 million investment for a $94 million return is phenomenal,” said Steffen, a Green Bay Republican. “I am proud to have advocated for state support for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, given the significant positive financial impact this event will have on our state.”

Green Bay, with a population just north of 100,000, is the smallest NFL market by far. But the Green Bay Packers football team is the winningest franchise in the National Football League and one of its most legendary.

The draft will take place in and around storied Lambeau Field and the zone of retailers and restaurants around the stadium known as Titletown.

“We’re the smallest market in the National Football League by a wide margin, but we’re a big community,” Ed Policy, the Packers chief operating officer and general counsel told the AP. “I think it’s very fair to say that no other community on the planet has as close of a nexus to the past, present and future of the game of football than Green Bay.”

Wisconsin’s third-largest city could see 250,000 or more visitors during the run of the three-day draft. Then there are the 54 million viewers that tune in. This year’s football talent show in Kansas City drew more than 300,000 visitors with an estimated $100 to $120 million economic impact.

Cowles and Steffen have submitted a formal motion requesting the state allocate $2 million in the next biennial budget to offset the costs associated with the city hosting the event. The price tag for hosting the draft is pegged at about $7.5 million. According to the lawmakers, the Packers will pick up about $5.5 million of the tab — with the help of partner organizations. The state would cover the remaining $2 million under the proposal.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee is in the process of crafting a two-year budget document that the full Legislature will take up in the coming weeks.

Earlier this spring, the JFC removed Governor Tony Evers’ proposal, including $290 million in spending to repair American Family Field, where Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers play. Wisconsin Republican leaders in March called Evers’ plan dead on arrival.

Cowles said “numerous lawmakers” support the proposed $2 million allocation to help the Green Bay Packers host the NFL draft.

“The history of the Packers and the history of Wisconsin go hand in hand. With the announcement of the 2025 draft taking place in Titletown, we’re continuing to build on that history while producing new opportunities for people throughout the country to understand and appreciate all that Northeast Wisconsin has to offer,” the Green Bay Republican said. “With a reasonable request to ensure the event goes off without a hitch and that we put our best foot forward, Northeast Wisconsin and the entire state would be able to see a great return on investment.”

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Rob Cowles” by Stand with Rob Cowles. Photo “David Steffen” by Wisconsin State Representative David Steffen. Background Photo “Lambeau Field” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.


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One Thought to “Green Bay Area Lawmakers Request $2 Million in State Funds to Support NFL Draft at Legendary Lambeau Field”

  1. Dave King

    So, taxpayers statewide will invest $2 million, with a proposed large return on investment. What is the benefit for taxpayers in Hudson, Superior, Portage, Racine, Boyd, Chippewa Falls, LaCrosse, etc.? How does the state recover the $2 million, plus ROI, and proportion it back to the taxpayers?