The Packers’ first three stock sales took place in 1923, 1935 and 1950, and they helped keep the small-market team financially afloat. The form of ownership, unusual for major U.S. sports leagues, was grandfathered in by the NFL, which otherwise mandates that its franchises be privately held. The league also stipulates, per reports, that funds raised by the Packers in this manner can only be used on facility upgrades that benefit fans and cannot be used for player contracts or other aspects of team operations.
As noted on the Packers’ website, the stock — this time priced at $300 for a share in Green Bay Packers Inc. — is not the same as traditional common stock that confers a portion of corporate equity. Packers stock does not pay out dividends, does not provide a say in the team’s direction and can only be transferred in highly restricted situations.
“The Packers will have no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase Packers stock,” the team advised potential investors. “Anyone considering the purchase of Packers stock should not purchase the stock to make a profit or to receive a dividend or tax deduction or any other economic benefits.”
Essentially, $300 buys you a piece of paper that tells everyone you are an official shareholder. It is a pretty cool piece of paper, though, particularly for fans of the Packers, who are likely to have little trouble finding takers for the 300,000 new shares. Through the previous offerings, approximately 361,300 people, representing approximately 5,009,400 shares (per the Packers), have become part-owners of an NFL team. Including purchases possibly made in the past two rounds, no one may buy more than 200 shares, according to the team.
So who does call the shots in Green Bay? A seven-person executive committee elected by a board of directors. Since 2008, that committee has been headed by team president and CEO Mark Murphy, a former Washington NFL player who earned a championship ring from Super Bowl XVII after the 1982 season. He added a second ring after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV in February 2011, and the team has had just three losing seasons in his 13 full years at the helm.
Holding stock in the team also gets you invited to its annual shareholders meeting. At the 2019 event (via Milwaukee Business Journal), approximately 4,200 attendees at Lambeau Field learned that the Packers’ total revenue went up $23 million from the previous fiscal year, and they were informed of stadium upgrades and coaching staff changes.
When the Packers visited the White House after their Super Bowl XLV win, they awarded a stock certificate to then-president and noted Chicago sports fan Barack Obama.
“Well, if I’m part-owner,” Obama said at the time, “I’m thinking we should initiate a trade to send Rodgers down to the Bears.”
Only people in the United States, as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are eligible to purchase the Packers stock that becomes available Tuesday. The team also indicated that would-be purchasers in some states could run into issues with “regulatory processes” that might not be completed.
Barring an extension, the stock offering will end Feb. 25, 2022.