GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers would like to host the NFL Draft in the league’s smallest market.
Team President Mark Murphy told stockholders at their annual meeting Thursday that the Packers have applied to host the draft in 2019, 2020 or 2021. The last two drafts have been held in Chicago after years of being held in New York City.
Murphy said hotel rooms could be an issue, though many fans attending Packers games typically stay within an hour’s drive of Lambeau Field, or even more than two hours away in Milwaukee. The Packers had also applied to host next year’s draft, Murphy told reporters after the meeting, though he indicated that Green Bay wasn’t a contender.
Players report for training camp on Monday, but the league is always planning ahead. The NFL plans to play a season-opening game in China in 2018, though it appears that the Packers aren’t interested in taking part.
"They asked us if we were interested. I didn’t even go to Ted," joked Murphy, referring to general manager Ted Thompson.
The Packers remain in good shape financially, having already reported an 8 percent increase in revenue to nearly $409 million in 2016. It’s the 13th straight year with a new high for one of the NFL’s marquee teams and the only one that is publicly owned.
Part of a redevelopment project on property across the street from Lambeau Field is scheduled to open next year, including a restaurant and hotel. The Packers hope the "Titletown" project also draws more revenue and year-round visits to the area, and the venue would be open if the team were to host a draft starting in 2019.
The team had roughly $168 million in player costs in 2016.
"Fans can be assured the Packer organization will spend every salary cap cent to bring more championships to Green Bay," treasurer Mark McMullen said.
The Packers and Patriots are the only two teams in the league with seven straight playoff appearances, Murphy said, two years short of tying the record.
"Thank you for your support. It’s unparalleled in the NFL and we greatly appreciate it," Murphy said before adding with a smile. "Let’s all meet here back in February" for a Super Bowl celebration.
NOTES: Murphy said the team has played a "very minimal" role in the NFL planning to interview defensive stars Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers in connection to a much-criticized media report that linked them to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The interviews were supposed to take place when camps open. Murphy said team involvement was limited to setting up interviews or working with the league office. . . . Lambeau Field will have a bacon-themed food concessions stand this season. . . . The meeting was delayed about a half-hour because of storms moving through the area.