FLORENCE COUNTY (NBC 26) — Earlier this month, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) Wisconsin reintroduced the Go Pack Go Act to make sure everyone in Wisconsin, no matter where they live across the state, can watch Green Bay Packers game broadcasts.
Currently, there are 13 counties in Northern Wisconsin that can’t watch the Packers at home because they are assigned to out-of-state networks in either Michigan or Minnesota.
One of those areas is Florence County, near the Michigan-Wisconsin state line. Residents there have said it’s very difficult to watch the Packers games.
“We see a lot of our guests coming in from the Fox Valley and Green Bay area,” said Paul Myers, co-owner of the Northwoods Lodge. “Every once in a while we can pick up a local feed but actually getting a network is pretty tough.”
Without paying for Dish Network, Myers and his guests would be stuck watching the Detroit Lions if the Packers were to play at the same time.
“Well, we don’t really talk about the Lions that much but seriously occasionally get something out of Rhinelander, Marquette. That is pretty much about it,” Myers said. “We go with the basic sports options but then have to add for local channels an extra $12 to pick up the local channels.”
It is a challenge, Susan Schneider of Long Lake also faces.
“If we didn’t have Dish we’d only get one channel, channel 12 which is NBC, and maybe like PBS or those off channels like channel one and you’d only get to see a Packer game when they play on national TV,” said Susan Schneider, Long Lake.
Just like her neighbor Paul Myers, Schneider also has to pay extra each month to watch the Packers.
“Some have Direct TV but we didn’t take Direct TV because we didn’t have a choice. We would’ve had to take Michigan as where with Dish we could pay the $12 and then we could get them. Something with the zip code,” said Schneider.
Schneider and Myers are just two examples of many who are unable to watch all the Packers games, which is why Senator Baldwin re-introduced the ‘Go Pack Go Act, a bill that would require cable and satellite providers to offer Wisconsin-based programming.
“It’s really serious. Packers fans really need to see their Packers on television. Therefore we need a Wisconsin-based option for people who get their media offerings from an out-of-state media market,” Baldwin said. “I do hear from folks that are frustrated when they can’t get the programming they want whether they’re residents in Florence County or visitors.”
Packer superfan Brad Borchardt, otherwise known as “Packermania”lives in Niagara, right on the Wisconsin-Michigan state line. He said that while this bill could help others, it doesn’t really impact him as he always finds a way to watch the games no matter what.
“I myself don’t have cable or satellite, but there are so many streaming abilities now through Peacock, FOX Now, Paramount Plus. There are just so many different streaming options, so I can watch every Packers game whenever I want,” said Borchardt.
But for the others across Florence County, this bill could also mean saving more money in the long run.
“I think they would like that because everybody up here wants to watch the Packer game. Like Lee he can only watch it when it's on NBC,” Schneider said.
“I think people need the opportunity whether watching sports, movies, or what have you, anything that can be done to boost that signal through local networks or broadband I’d be all for it and hope they can extend it,” Myers said.
So whether you lean right or left, community members can all agree that the Green Bay Packers are one of the biggest unifiers across the state.
To learn more about what the bill entails, go to baldwin.senate.gov.