Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee votes in favor of $2M for NFL Draft in Green Bay

A state budget amendment provides the funds
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2023 at 5:41 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The state could help offset costs for Green By to host the NFL Draft in 2025.

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to support a state budget amendment to provide $2 million in state support for hosting the NFL Draft in Green Bay, State Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay) said in a statement celebrating the move. It passed by a 12-4 vote.

The budget still needs approval by the full Legislature and by Gov. Tony Evers, who has line-item veto powers.

We first alerted you last week that Rep. Steffen and state Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) submitted a formal motion to put the money in the budget and help offset the estimated $7.5 million price tag that comes with hosting an event of this size.

The money is expected to help with the necessities, including staff and volunteer support, parking and shuttles, and public safety.

“There’s a recognition about the impact that it was going to have on the local community that it was, in particular, not going to the NFL, or the Packers themselves, rather to Discover Green Bay. So it was going to be used for the betterment of the city and the community as a whole,” Sen. Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay), a member of the Joint Finance Committee, said.

The 2025 NFL Draft is expected to draw in roughly 240,000 visitors. Sen. Cowles thinks the city will attract more than that.

“Green Bay is this iconic place where Coach Lombardi coached, and all these great players -- Bart Starr, and Ray Nitschke and Paul Hornung and Brett Favre and so on and so on -- and there will be a lot of people that will want to come here on their bucket list,” Sen. Cowles said on May 23.

Cowles said the payback for the state will be tremendous -- carrying the promise of $94 million for the state, $20 million of which will directly impact Green Bay.

The NFL announced the 2025 draft’s location in late May during its spring meetings. The draft and related activities will take place inside and around Lambeau Field and Titletown.

The Packers will contribute $1 million towards the cost of hosting the event. An additional $4.5 million will have to come from local funding.

“Obviously we get a lot of exposure when Lambeau Field is on TV on weekends. This will be a whole ‘nother level of exposure, bringing people in from all over the country that love to attend these drafts and hopefully have them come back again in a different setting,” Sen. Cowles said.

“I’m elated that JFC supported my modest investment request to help offset costs associated with hosting the 2025 draft. Today, members of the finance committee recognized that hosting the draft is an enormous win for the state of Wisconsin. The immediate and long-term financial benefits to Green Bay and the entire state, truly make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rep. Steffen wrote in a statement.