Green Bay Packers offer team stock, sort of, to Cheesehead nation
Something tells us these ladies and gentlemen might be interested in $250 shares of Packers stock.
December 6th, 2011
11:34 AM ET

Green Bay Packers offer team stock, sort of, to Cheesehead nation

Congratulations, Packers fans! Those of you who've had your fill of Brett Favre bobbleheads and foam hats resembling Swiss cheese can now shell out $250 for something about as worthless.

The front office is billing it as a chance to become a team owner, an opportunity to be part of history, your chance to show you believe in "the great American story." The Green Bay Press-Gazette, on the other hand, is reporting that the team needs $143 million to add 7,000 seats plus a new sound system, scoreboards, entrances and elevators to storied Lambeau Field.

The good news is the Packers are making sure there is a way to receive the certificates by Christmas Eve, but Packers fans may think they're ordering anvils when they see the $25 shipping-and-handling fee. Seriously, what do these things weigh?

I guess if you think about it, the 20th-most valuable sports franchise in the world (at $1.02 billion, according to Forbes) asking average Joes to shell out $250 per stock certificate to help expand a stadium isn't much of a departure from the great American story. What does Occupy Green Bay think of all this?

OK, maybe that was a harsh assessment of the team's first stock offering in almost 15 years, but reading the conditions outlining what you do not get with your purchase makes one wonder, What the heck do you get?

Let's glance at the myriad ways this stock is nothing like a stock: Only individuals can buy it, the Pack has no obligation to pay you back, no one can buy more than 200 shares, you receive no protection from securities laws, the team and NFL "severely restrict" any stock transfer and you should not expect any profit, dividend, tax deduction or economic benefit in general.

There's also this nugget: "Stock in the Packers does not constitute an investment in 'stock' in the common sense of the term." Funny word, that stock.

Oh, and you have to live in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands to buy the, um, stock. I know the Chamorros are running for their checkbooks as we speak.

There are a few fringe benefits, though, even if I giggled when my close friend, a hardcore Cheesehead, instant messaged me this morning to say, "I am now an owner of the green bay packers! i voted to keep rodgers as starting quarterback next week!"

The Press-Gazette reports that those buying the initial allotment of 250,000 shares will be allowed "to vote on team business, including directors, and attend annual meetings. Shareholders do get such perks as exclusive locker room tours."

This is the fifth time in 92 years the defending Super Bowl champs and only publicly owned NFL franchise has asked fans to "come to the team's financial rescue," according to the team website. The Packers doled out more than 4.75 million stock shares with offerings in 1923, 1935, 1950 and 1997.

Kevin Quinn, an economist at St. Norbert College, told the Press-Gazette the 12-by-8-inch certificates were essentially memorabilia and defended those Packers faithful who would shell out a quarter-grand for one.

"It's not the worst thing you could spend your money on. You'd spend the same amount of money on a team jacket and you can't pass that on to the kids," he told the paper, without explaining why you can't pass on a jacket to your children.

So, best of luck, Packers fans. Estimates on how fast they will sell out range from "within minutes" to "never." Green Bay's front office says sales will run through February 29.

(Disclaimer: The author of this post is a Dallas fan who, despite an overtime choke versus the Cards on Sunday, would buy Cowboys stock if Jerry Jones could ever find it in his heart to give up a modicum of control.)

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Filed under: Brett Favre • Economy • Football • Pro football • Sports • U.S. • Wisconsin
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. steve

    It's more of a donation than anything else. I think it's a lot better than trying to get money from a local tax, which affects fans and non fans alike!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Packerfan Steve

    Sounds like alot of Packer Fan envy. Most NFL fans wish their team had the same fan base. Go Pack!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Every fan base is the same.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueWisconsin

      Dan, please elaborate. Was the fan base the same in Los Angeles when the Raiders went back to Oakland? Or when the Rams moved to St. Louis? Was the fan base the same in Cleveland when they moved to Baltimore? Is the fan base the same in Cincinnati where 25% of the seats remain empty each game?

      December 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary1966

    My dad bought me a share in the Packers' 1997 stock sale for $300. What you can do with a share of Packers stock: attend the annual shareholders meeting in July, vote on the board of directors (which is really not much, because no one has ever gotten enough votes together to defeat the slate that the board itself nominates), and buy special items from the Packers catalog. I bought a keychain that has a replica of the Packers Super Bowl ring on it in a special offering to shareholders only. Other than that, you are buying a pretty piece of paper to hang on your wall. But the fact that the Packers are funding their stadium renovations with money from their fans and not the taxpayers is enough for me to have bought a second share this morning. I am proud of the Packers organization and am more than happy to support them financially.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jay

    I am an European packers fan living in a tiny west coast city and just bought a share of the Packers franchise for each of my kids. In Europe it is common for fans to sort of own the team they cheer for. It is a way of supporting financially something that brings them joy and entertainment.
    Although this specific expenditure is done out of some of sports passion (by definition irrational) I also volunteer my time and money to other activities that do not buy me anything except the joy of giving to what I consider to be good causes.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bdgfn

    I'm not from Green Bay. I'm not even from Wisconsin. And I have a team I'm a rabid follower of. But I'm actually considering buying one share in the Packers. A number of teams have tried to call themselves "America's Team", but in my mind, the Packers truly are America's Team, being owned by Average Joes across the country (yeah, the vast majority are in Green Bay). That's pretty amazing when you consider how all other sports franchises are owned and operated.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jerrad

    I don't see why you have such a problem with this? Yes it is not the same as buying "real" stock, but you make it sound as if they are forcing all Packer fans to buy stock. If someone wants to spend the money to say they own "stock" in the Green Bay Packers then all the power to them. I think it is a great way to let people who are fans contribute to bettering the stadium, instead of forcing all citizens to pay extra taxes to do it.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wondering

    Does anyone think this is a Ponzi scheme? Lets put it like this, Greenbay packers having in taking money from crazy funs from 1923 without giving anything as returns? wait a minute they're asking for $ 250Million with no promise of anything? I love Green Bay real owners they have to be very smart..... people who live debt handing $250Million to rich real owners!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerrad

      All money goes towards the team, and any excess money is reinvested into the team and its facilities. When fans buy stock they know they are donating money to better the team and its facilities. Its not like there is some CEO that takes home the excess money raised by the stock sale and stuffs it under his mattress. I suppose you think the paying taxes to the government in return for Fire/Police and other services is a Ponzi Scheme as well?

      December 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff of Peoria

      You don't get it. The owners are the FANS.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • BR

      speak english much?

      December 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • FJ59

      Actually, the money can not go the team. The monies are kept separate from the Packer's general operating expenses and, by law, can be used only for facility modifications. Over the years I have been to Lambeau many, many times and they have so much of my money already what's another $250. True Packer fans know exactly what I am talking about.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      And just who do you think the "real owners" are? Profit from the team is put back into the team. Team is community owned, stock is a way for the community to voluntarily support stadium improvements for the community.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      There IS no "rich owner". The owners of the Green Bay Packers are the people who own the stock.....which now includes anyone who bought shares during any of the 5 times the franchise has offered it.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NCPackFan

    I think community ownership of a franchise is a wonderful thing. It truly represents the city and region, and nobody can move it away from the fan base that supports it. I don't understand why this type of arrangement has to be grandfathered in and is not allowed otherwise.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JJ

    Bought Packers stock this morning at 8:02am and didn't care about the $25 handling charge because a team I enjoy supportting asked for help. At the end of the day, the Packers give us a reason to forget eachothers differences and rally together in support of a team, so grab a brat, some cheese curds, and a beer! Go Pack!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KONG

    GO! PACKERS! GO!

    Nobody can defeat the Green Bay Packers.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      They haven't played anyone decent yet.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason S

      Ben,

      So they haven't played the New Orlean Saints, the Detroit Lions (I know, but they are a winning team), and the New York Giants? I think those are decent tests.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueWisconsin

      Uh, Ben...The Packers have beaten the following teams this year: The Saints at 9-3, The Bears 7-5, Broncos 7-5, Falcons 7-5, The Lions 7-5, Giants 6-6. No decent teams in that bunch? Really? No one in contention for the playoffs there?

      Perhaps you were hoping they'd have a tougher schedule like the 49ers, who play in a division with three losing teams, and who have only two victories over winning teams (Cincy and Detroit) this year? Or New England, whose victories have come against the likes of Miami, San Diego, Indianapolis, Philly...?

      December 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Christopher

    What does our $250 get us? How about several million dollars pumped into the local economy for every home game. Having an elite level professional team brings money and employment to Northeast Wisconsin. Those who purchase stock are investing in the communities around Green Bay as much as the team.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. FJ59

    First of all, the Packers, at $1.02 billion, do not need financial resuce. They do, however, want to get more of their fans into the stands. And, as an NFL owner, there are NFL owner laws that you would now need to follow. For instance, you can not publically criticize any player, owner, official, or team or face up to a $500,000 fine nor can you bet on football games, $5,000 fine and lose the $250 share, and that right there would be a huge waste of money. GO PACK GO!!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tx_n8iv

    typical bile spewing forth from a disgruntled Cowboys fan. I've been a Packers shareholder since '97 and have never regretted it. Go Pack Go!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Derrick

    All of this information has been known for years, nobody thinks buying stock in the Packers will yield any type of profit (because it can't). If people want to buy it, fine. They could spend money on nobler things, but so could anybody who owns an iPad or PS3 and at least more seating in Lambeau will help bring more people in and spending money.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Star gazzer

    Hey jef in peoria , i lived in that area for two years i loved it , have a good day bud

    December 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
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