There are more NFL owners today than there were last week. The Green Bay Packers launched their sixth stock sale in franchise history on Tuesday. Shares of stock are priced at $300 a piece. In the first two days, the sale generated over $36 million dollars, as the team sold more than 110,000 shares.
While some people have criticized the sale, calling it a “scam,” buyers have truly embraced it. While it’s probably the most expensive piece of paper shareholders own, it’s priceless to own a piece of their team.
1. Selling stock kept the Packers in Green Bay
After only four seasons, the Green Bay Packers suffered major financial problems and the organization nearly went bankrupt. In 1922, the Packers faced a tough decision: move the team to a bigger city or dissolve it completely.
Instead, the team’s founders decided not to give up and to try something that was considered a long shot. They called a meeting with local business people and came up with the idea of issuing stock in the team. They started a public, non-profit corporation to save the franchise and keep it in Green Bay. In August of 1923, the articles of incorporation were filed with the state and the first stock went on sale. 1,000 shares were sold at $5 a piece, giving the team $5,000 to keep operations running. With that, the community-owned Green Bay Packers were born.
2. A falling fan forced the Packers into their second sale
After the first stock sale, the community-owned Packers continued their dominance and winning ways, but also continued to struggle financially. In 1934, a fan fell out of the bleachers at City Stadium during one of the team’s games. He sued the Packers and settled for $5,000. As a result, the team faced more financial trouble. The Packers were forced into receivership and transferred the franchise to Leland Joanees, the club’s president. Consequently, the team conducted their second stock offering in 1935 to keep the team afloat.
3. Curly Lambeau’s departure from the organization led to the third stock sale
In 1950, Green Bay’s co-founder, Curly Lambeau, left the Packers after over 30 years with the team. Consecutive losing seasons and Lambeau’s departure left the organization facing more financial problems. All the small-market teams that had been founded around the time of the Packers moved to bigger cities or disbanded. To keep the franchise in its hometown, the team decided again to sell stock.
4. The first three and last three sales had different purposes
The first three stock sales aimed to keep the Packers in Green Bay, as the team struggled financially. The two most recent sales (1997 & 2011) had different purposes, as the Packers weren’t in danger of leaving Green Bay. Instead, the revenue these sales generated allowed the Packers to renovate and expand Lambeau Field. The current sale will once again help pay to update the stadium.
5. The price of stock has increased over the years
In 1923, one share cost $5. By 1935, the price of stock was $25 a piece and remained the same during the 1950 sale. In 1997, the price skyrocketed to $200 a piece. In 2011, one share cost $250. Buyers are purchasing one share for $300 during the ongoing sale.
6. The stock isn’t like traditional stock
Packers stock is different from traditional stock. The stock has no value, pays no dividends, and can’t be traded. In addition, owning a share of stock gives owners no say in team matters. However, shareholders have the opportunity to attend the annual Shareholder’s Meeting, vote on the Board of Directors, and have the ability to purchase exclusive shareholder-only merchandise.
7. Current players partook in the most recent sale
Several current players have shared on social media that they bought stock in the team that employs them. The list includes Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, and Kurt Benkert. However, just because they play for the team, doesn’t mean they were able to skip to the front of the line. They had to wait just as long as regular fans to buy their stock!
8. No other NFL teams can sell stock if they want to – the Packers are an exception
The Packers are the only publicly-owned, not-for-profit professional sports team in the United States. And they will remain the only NFL team to be ‘publicly owned’ for a long time. NFL rules prohibit other teams from selling stock, but the Packers are still allowed to do so because they don’t have wealthy owners to pay for facility improvements. However, the league does have stipulations on what Green Bay can do with the revenue they generate. They may only use the money from stock sales for stadium and building projects, not for operating expenses or anything involving players.
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