Rain forces Packers shareholders meeting indoors
The owners of the Green Bay Packers met Wednesday at Lambeau Field, but not in bleachers.
Due to weather concerns, the Packers ordered the stadium bowl cleared 15 minutes before the annual meeting of shareholders was set to begin at 7 p.m.
"I was surprised it would be here that quick. Didn't think it would rain that quick," fan Peter Swart said.
The Packers officials ended up giving their prepared remarks from the media auditorium while shareholders watched on giant TVs set up in the atrium, concourse and club level. It wasn't the meeting fans had in mind.
"We drove quite a ways, three-and-a-half hours or so, even flew hours from San Diego, just to get to Lambeau Field," Marvin Joles said.
"Bought share in 2011, always wanted to come. This year I came to watch the meeting, no meeting," Gary Muench, who's also from San Diego, said.
Shareholders were earlier advised to bring a rain poncho because of the chance of rain, but storms with lightning developed to the west and were moving east. At the time, a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was in effect for some counties in WBAY's viewing area but not Brown County.
"I would say for safety purposes it's always a good choice (to move everyone indoors) but of course as fans and owners we may get disappointed about that. But what are you going to do?" Joles said.
"It's not their fault. It happens. Mother Nature. They are doing stuff to adapt to the weather, and they are making it work for fans who came out, so I think it's fine," fan Megan Denton said.
The Packers estimated 5,900 shareholders attended the annual meeting -- an estimate made just before the evacuation. Many decided to stay and watch the meeting in the concourse.
Packers officials talked about draft choices, Titletown District developments, future community endeavors, and, of course, the weather. Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said he was disappointed that the weather forced everyone inside but said safety was most important.
The Packers fans know they can't control the weather, but what fans can control is their loyalty.
"There's nothing like being at Lambeau Field. There is no other place like it on earth," fan Tyler Borth said.
"I came all this way," Muench said. "But really, just being in the field, enjoying Lambeau Field, seeing it for the first time was well worth it, even though I didn't get to see the meeting."
And loyalty is something everyone talks about. Even the new Packers general manager touched on it at the meeting.
"Packers have the most loyal fans in all of professional sports. That loyalty and passion continue to inspire us to set the bar higher and strive for excellence," Brian Gutekunst said.
"Still a good experience," Swart said. "The parking on in has been great, and I got my souvenir popcorn bucket."
Many shareholders we talked with said they're sticking around to see the first Packers training camp practice on Thursday and take part in the free, four-day football event the Packers are hosting at Lambeau Field to celebrate the team's 100th season.