By Mallory Allen, Mara Allen, and Lindsey Gloede
Hard-hitting, affordable family fun. That’s the motto the Green Bay Blizzard lives by.
Located in the same city widely known as the home of the world-renowned Green Bay Packers, the Blizzard football franchise is generally eclipsed by their neighbors at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. But while they may be overshadowed, the Blizzard should not be overlooked.
Founded in 2003, the Green Bay Blizzard has a rich history of membership in the professional Indoor Football League (IFL). This sport – which remains unfamiliar to many – can be described as ‘real’ football, just a different style. The indoor game boasts some similarities to the type of play seen at the high school, collegiate, and NFL levels. However, many of the IFL’s rules regarding things like positions, formations, scoring, and field length (50 yards long rather than 100) are distinctive to their league. When all these factors are combined, it makes for thrilling back-and-forth games complete with fast-paced action, wild plays, and lots of points on the scoreboard.
The Blizzard opened their 2022 season with a close 26-23 loss against the Bismarck Bucks at the Resch Center on March 13. Now, the front office is looking ahead to April – their busiest month by far. Green Bay has three home games scheduled in a 16-day span (April 9, 16, and 24), and there are big things in store for attendees.
“It’s exciting, and it’s stressful… We’re moving from the laser show into the post-game concert into the Skee-Ball giveaway,” said Green Bay Blizzard Director of Sales Ryan Hopson. “It’s a lot of work, but at the same time, it’ll be weird when it’s over because there will still be three months of the season left, and we’ll already be halfway done at home.”
As a competitive football franchise, the Blizzard’s primary goal is, of course, winning football games. However, just as important to the organization is providing the fans who attend their matches with unique opportunities for fun, entertainment, and interaction – all at a great price.
“Not everyone can afford to go across the street and watch a football game at Lambeau. A family of four can sit in the endzone at a Blizzard game and grab a couple of hot dogs for the price of one Packer ticket,” said Hopson. “I think it means a lot to have this affordable option for people in and around Green Bay.”
Each Blizzard home game is given a theme, along with promotions, giveaways, events, and/or food and drink specials. Some are annual (such as Military Appreciation Night), but many are brand-new each year. Hopson said that when it comes to organizing and scheduling themes and promotions, “We [the front office] are usually planning eight months ahead of time.”
The 2022 Blizzard season began on March 13 with the theme ‘100% Chance of Snow’ – when the team scored, an artificial blizzard fell over the Resch Center crowd.
“I thought the snowstorm was super cool! It added another dimension of excitement to the game,” said 20-year-old Alyssa Nelson, who was in attendance for her first-ever Blizzard game. Nelson said that although she had never heard of indoor football, “I thought the whole experience was really fun. I’ll definitely come back for another Blizzard game – hopefully sometime this season.”
Kicking off the Blizzard’s hectic April month is Kids Night (April 9, 6:05). Children ages 12 and under are free with a paid adult ticket, and the first 1,000 in attendance will receive a youth jersey. Additionally, Dash 4 Cash Teacher Edition will occur at halftime, and the wildly popular laser show will return after the game ends.
One week later is the Blizzard’s Easter Extravaganza (April 16, 6:05), which will feature inflatables, candy, and more holiday-themed specials. Each attendee will receive a Wonka Bar, and whoever holds the ‘golden ticket’ wins the day’s grand prize: a Skee-Ball Home Arcade Deluxe.
“I’m curiously optimistic and excited for that one because, in my nine years here [at the Blizzard], we’ve never had a holiday weekend game,” said Hopson. “We’ve done the Wonka Bar giveaway before, but never in this capacity.”
Wrapping up the Blizzard’s April home stretch is their yearly Faith & Family Day (April 24, 3:05), but with an extra special twist. Christian singer-songwriter Colton Dixon will perform after the game ends. Hot dogs and soda will be available at a discounted price of $2.
“Personally, I’m really looking forward to the Colton Dixon show,” said Hopson. “We were on the cusp of pulling off a post-game concert in 2020 before the season was canceled, and now we’re having a former American Idol contestant perform for us. That game should be crazy and lots of fun.”
And the fun doesn’t end when April does. Superhero, Top Gun, Military Appreciation, and 90s Nights comprise the Blizzard’s final four home game themes in May and June, including promotions such as costume contests, beer specials, themed giveaways, and a pre-game block party.
All of this is done, Hopson said, to help the Blizzard organization fulfill its mission under owners Larry and Kathy Treankler: “to provide affordable family fun and an award-winning gameday experience while bringing families together and impacting our community.”
Community-oriented is perhaps the best way to describe the Green Bay Blizzard franchise. Area schools and groups are invited to form a ‘fan tunnel’ for players to run through during pre-game introductions; youth football teams face off at halftime; local bands and dance teams perform; kids participate in games and challenges on the field during time outs and media breaks, etc. And at the end of every game, the ‘5th Quarter’ gives fans the opportunity to meet the Blizzard’s players, take pictures, and get autographs.
Between all the themes, promotions, special events, and engagement opportunities provided to fans, Blizzard games are about much more than football. Young or old, male or female, football fanatic or sports apathetic, there’s something for everyone who comes to watch the Green Bay Blizzard.
“I wish more people knew that there’s really good football right across the street from Lambeau. I love and respect that [NFL] game as much as anyone, but it’s not the only game in town. We’re different in the best way possible,” Hopson said. “I challenge you to try it out and not like it. We dare you not to like Blizzard football!”
Visit the Green Bay Blizzard website (www.greenbayblizzard.com) and click on the Tickets tab to purchase tickets to any of the team’s upcoming home games.