The Green and Gold are back on the gridiron, but you will notice something a bit different about Lambeau Field if you visit it this season. The gate that used to be known as Shopko Gate is now being referred to as “South Gate.”
Shopko had been the sponsor of the entrance gate added to Lambeau Field as part of the south end zone expansion since 2013. Now, both the retailer and its name above the gate are no more.
So, What’s Going to Happen Now?
When the Ashwaubenon-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, the future of the gate’s name was uncertain. Had the “Official Hometown Store of the Packers” already locked in a multi-year deal? Would its name above the gate outlive the company itself?
We now know the answer is no, but that does not mean that the Shopko name will be erased from history.
Shopko purchased the naming rights to Shopko Hall in the Brown County Veterans Memorial Complex for the life of the building in 1999 for $1.4 million. However, in a weird twist of fate, that building is being demolished this year to make room for the new Brown County Expo Center.
The only enduring Shopko branding is carved into the CityDeck boardwalk that juts out over the Fox River. According to the Press Gazette, “Shopko contributed $250,000 toward CityDeck’s $12 million price tag and the recognition for its support will not be going anywhere. It is literally carved into the wood in Shopko Landing.”
The Packers will undoubtedly have no trouble finding a new sponsor for “South Gate” and may even get another company to pay it to be called the “Official Hometown Store of the Packers,” but this is an example of the ripple effect bankruptcies have on even healthy businesses they are connected to. The Packers had a 98% drop in profit over the last year, and losing a major sponsor would have played some role in that dramatic decrease even though it is not mentioned as a major factor in the team’s statement about its finances.
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