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. NFL owner

    Looks great on resume, "minority owner NFL franchise"

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

      1 thing is painfully obvious about this article, this writer has no clue why Packers fans buy this stock. Nobody buying this stock is buying it to make money or be able to make decisions for the team. Us Packers fans want it because we love our team and will support them anyway we can. It's being able to say you are a part of the Packers. Anyone thinking anything else buying this stock is just an id.iot. I can honestly say this is one of the dumbest articles I've ever read.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin

      Matt,

      I agree 100% – elliot is jealous and probably had to hire somebody to write this for him, lord knows cowboy fans are illiterate.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      Hey Matt, I tried to post this a second ago from my phone but it might not have sent. ... I know exactly why the Packers fans buy these. It's an incredible institution with some of the world's best fans. I've interviewed many of them, not including my pal who is quoted in this article, haha. I was more poking fun because the Pack is calling it stock when it doesn't walk or talk like a stock. In any case, I appreciate you commenting!

      December 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patrick M.

    Derrick summed it up perfectly. This article is written as if "shareholders" are unaware of what they are buying, stating, "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." Everyone in Wisconsin knows thats what the stock is for. Its a fundraiser they have been planning for months. You are clearly the only person who was unaware of this until a week ago. Way to report.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      I feel ya, Patrick. CNN.com has an international audience so this piece was not solely for Green Bay shareholders or Badger State residents. This is a cool story - and news to many folks outside Wisconsin. As for the juxtaposition of facts, the reason I phrased the Press-Gazette report as I did is because in an almost 2,000-word FAQ on the Pack website (it's linked in the story), the team makes no mention whatsoever of stadium improvements. In any case, thanks for reading and commenting!

      December 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin

      It is disgusting that this Cowboys fan got to write an article trashing the packers stock selling – only to say that if his favorite team were selling stock he'd buy some.

      Hypocrite piece of trash.

      CNN is a joke.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally

      Since he had his little disclaimer at the bottom I took it more as a tongue-in-cheek poke at us Packer fans. Relax, Jordan....he comes across as a football fan that loves Dallas most. Not trashing the Pack.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin... Again

      "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."

      I dont know how you could perceive the first line of his article to be poking good fun. He violated the ultimate Taboo... hes a cowboys fan, as bad as the vikings or bears – and hes telling us our investments are worthless – regardless of their sentimental value, which he obviously doesn't see – because hes a cowboys fan.

      seriously people – elliot is a joke, and he banned one of my emails from commenting on this page – because he knows hes wrong!

      lol eliot

      December 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueWisconsin

      Jordan...seriously, you are not making Wisconsin or Packer fans look good with your rantings. You come off as someone who is completely unhinged. Perhaps you should take a moment to reflect on that before you post again.

      December 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gil Borrero

    I would buy Cowboys stock if ever sold. i admire that GB would do this and it does show how much of a fan you are. I am surprised the Rooneys have not done with the Steelers...

    December 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason S

      Gil,

      No other team can do this. The NFL strictly prohibits publicly owned teams stock sales. The Packers are grandfathered into the NFL. There will never be any other team doing what the Packers do. They had to go through a ton of approvals and each state had to approve this as if this were truly a stock offering by a company. Up until late last week there were 1 or 2 states that still hadn't signed off on it and they would have been excluded from the purchasing.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fickleflan

    Compare a voluntary capital raising effort, like selling Green Bay shares, to the other professional sports owners. They extort money from state legislatures and tax payers (whether they are fans or not) to build new stadiums under threats of relocating. It would ever happen in Green Bay.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James J.

    What? I can't trade these for a profit? I can guarantee that EVERYONE who purchases Packer "stock" (yes, I too am an owner) knows that it is not a true stock investment. I live in the Twin Cities but am a "sconie" and die-hard GB fan. The local media is full of commercials and news items marketing why the Vikings should build a new stadium so that the fan base will push the state legislature to OK tax funding for said stadium. If it were allowed by the NFL (which it is not), don't you think they would fare better offering "stock" that would allow fans to "own" a stake in the team rather than shunting our tax dollars to a help rich billionaire? The end result is the same – funding your team – but the stock sale feels like an opportunity while a tax-funded stadium feels like a tax. I'll bet every NFL franchise would benefit from similar "Stock" sales. Well, gotta go finish my beer and cheese. Out.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      I'm sure everyone who bought stock knows, James J. Most of this was just a bit of fun, though the reporting is accurate throughout. As for the tax v. stock debate, it's not an either-or situation. Green Bay did both. As the Press-Gazette reported last year, "On Sept. 12, 2000, Brown County voters by a 53-47 percent margin agreed to tax themselves for the $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field, a project that Green Bay Packers leaders said was crucial to the future of the franchise." Just wanted to clear that up. Thanks for commenting!

      December 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin

      you could have cleared it up in the story you wrote, rather than haphazardly reporting the info in a comment.

      Thanks for clearing it up – after the fact. dip.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua M. S.

      Elliott, this Jordan character certainly has some heavy hate for you. Its almost creepy. He named his poop after you btw.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      I would be willing to bet that just about every certificate is framed by the end of January. The people buying this stock are either 1. Packers fans who are helping out their team, or 2. NFL fans that think this is pretty cool and wish their team COULD do the same. I'm a Redskins fan so I wish I could buy shares so I could vote Rex Grossman off the field. lol

      December 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin... Again

      Joshua... almost creepy? I was goin for full on creepy. I'd love to meet eliot and creep all over him.

      December 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MKE414

    Definitely a one-sided article. Regard the disclaimer, no other team could become like the Packers since the NFL made a rule that a team can be owned by no more than 32 people. Packers were grandfathered in and therefore can share as much stock as they want. Regardless of the value of the "Stock," I think it is a great way to raise money without adding a stadium renovation tax.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Liz

    Those of you who are not a cheesehead or a proud member of The Packer Nation will never understand.
    This is why the Packers have the most loyal fan base in the NFL. Hell yeah I bought 'stock'. It is called pride, a work ethic and being a good neighbor. And my son shovels Lambeau when it snows and he has pride in helping. You, Mr. Reporter, should try it. It builds character.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      No, Liz. Absolutely not. If there is one thing you will not catch me doing, it's shoveling snow. Especially not to build character. I'd do it to save a life, but otherwise, brrrrrrr. Thanks for reading!

      December 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Buying stock doesn't make you any more of a fan. It just means you're helping them renovate the stadium. And why does having so much pride in a professional sports team help you build character? Get off your high horse.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin... Again

      all of my comments were removed for making threats to eliot, so I suppose I will calm it down.

      I think she was saying that shoveling snow for the packers builds character for her son...

      eliot u... need to write on other topics.

      December 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mpagel

    NFL rules prohibit public ownership of any team, and I think that corporations are also prohibited from ownership in the NFL (Baseball and basketball allow corporate ownership). NFL owners must be individuals or small groups with a majority owner. The Packers were grandfathered in on this rule so they are the exception (making them the only truly exceptional team in the NFL!). So Jones, Rooney, and other owners couldn't sell stock in their team if they wanted to.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JH

    Props to the author for knowing who Chamorros are (natives of Guam).

    December 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      Hafa Adai, JH! And thanks for reading!

      December 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan from Wisconsin

      Just about the only thing he demonstrates true knowledge in, the rest is nonsensical muck reported through his skewed perspective

      December 6, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    Calling this a stock sale is just a way for people to feel like they're getting something in return for a donation. It's pretty smart on the Packers' part, since I'm sure they wouldn't get nearly as many people giving them money if they just asked everyone for donations in increments of $250.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jcavhs

    I bought a share this morning and am extremely happy about it. The stock sale will help add 7K seats and a better stadium experience. So when I am able to get to a game there are another 7K seats that people might be willing to sell, especially when it gets cold, along with an extra gate and better screens. Plus, this is $250 that doesn't have to be raised either through loans or taxes. The Packers are very clear about what you get – a vote, access to some extra perks on tours, some additional merchandise from the pro shop and the chance to say you own a share in your favorite sports team.

    At the end of the day, the Packers are getting money to improve the field without needing to ask the residents of Brown County to pay for it, fans are getting something they view as worth their money and no one is being forced to do anything or spend money they don't want to.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jordan from Wisconsin... Again

    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.

    Truly Insulting

    December 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    This guy has no idea of what being a fan is. However, people that are fans even of other sports teams will understand. This article shows exactly where CNN has been lately. Out of touch.

    December 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rikie from Wisconsin

    Eliott has a vaild point no matter how wrong it sounds to us Packers fans. But Jordan from Wisconsin has one as well. It's all in how you say it.
    THE PACK ATTACK!

    December 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aaron R.

    Great article, Elliott! Anyone can see you are a true football fan. And Jordan: you are a loser. Get bent. Sincerely, Aaron R.

    December 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
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