We end 2018 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #3: Green Bay Packers unveil TitletownTech.
To say that the Green Bay Packers are an anomaly in the National Football League is an understatement. Community owned in a very small market, the Green and Gold are now on the cutting edge when it comes to development and expansion with the emergence of TitletownTech in 2018.
On the business side, the Packers have been a huge success in the last decade, leveraging a Brown County sales tax to expand and upgrade Lambeau Field. Team management then entered the development field with the planning of Titletown, a mixed-use 10-acre park and plaza that includes housing, a luxury hotel, office space and brewery constructed in two phases. The emphasis there is on the gameday experience, but there are also enough offerings to ensure year-round foot traffic. Other NFL teams, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, have also tackled similar developments at their stadiums.
The Packers didn’t stop with Titletown, however. With a focus on economic development tied to existing Fox Valley industries, the Packers in 2018 unveiled TitletownTech after a 2017 announcement. Here, the Packers have partnered with high-tech firms like Microsoft, as well as educational institutions like UW-Green Bay and the UW System Economic Development Office, to create a business incubator with the following components, according to the Packers:
- An innovation lab, focused on creating new ventures: where entrepreneurs and established regional businesses can engage to develop ideas, explore disruptive new business models and next-generation technology solutions;
- A venture studio, focused on building ventures: where new and emerging business models and scalable industry solutions are developed into stand-alone startup ventures;
- A venture fund, focused on funding and investing in high-growth startups aligned with industries in Northeastern Wisconsin that will bring opportunity to the region.
The total cost of the TitletownTech initiative: $10 million. The targeted industries for TitletownTech: sports and entertainment tech; digital health; supply chain; agriculture, environment and water (AEW); and advanced manufacturing. Some of this builds upon existing trends in Wisconsin economic development (Milwaukee is a hub for water tech research), while others address perceived needs in the marketplace.
While we’re seeing a lot of owners investing in tech, those investments tend to be on things specific to the sports industry. This investment initiative goes far outside the Packers’ mission as a football team, making for an interesting foray into community building that may or may not impact the team’s bottom line.