Yes, even schlubs like you can own an NFL team… or at least part of one. The only publicly-owned franchise in pro sports, the Green Bay Packers will open the floodgates and offer stock for sale for the first time since 1997, on Tuesday.
Before you go and try to blow all your savings to gain a controlling interest in the Packers, you should know this. No one person can buy more than 200 shares in the team. There are currently 4.8 million shares in the Packers owned by 112,158 people. That’s before 250,000 shares go on sale next week.
The Packers became publicly owned in the early days of the NFL, thanks to founder Curly Lambeau. While teams in Canton, Milwaukee, Evansville and Brooklyn were folding, Lambeau assured the future of his team in Green Bay by turning ownership over to the locals. It was perhaps the best move he ever made and the only reason Green Bay — population just over 100,000 — has a pro sports franchise.
Shares will cost $250 each and, the return is essentially nil. They don’t increase in value, although Forbes valued them at around $220 earlier this year and shares sold for $200 in 1997. Plus, you can only transfer them to immediate family members and can’t sell them.
In other words, if you buy stock in the Packers, you’re making a vanity purchase… in the greatest franchise in pro sports history.
[Disclaimer: Yeah, I grew up in Green Bay. If you don't like it, go to hell!]
Stockholders do get certain perks though. They get access to the team’s financial statements and they get to go to the annual shareholders meeting. They also get to say, “Hey jerk, I own an NFL franchise!”
The shareholders meeting is a real circus.
Imagine cramming thousands of people into the bowels of Lambeau Field, most of whom are farmers, construction workers, drunks and cheese makers. They get to ask questions of the Packers brass, including president Mark Murphy and general manager Ted Thompson. Sometimes, these questions are really stupid.
I remember the summer of the Brett Favre fiasco, when some yokel walked up to Thompson and said, ” Hey, why you gonna git rid of our guy who’s gonna take us to da Super Bowl… for a guy who’s gonna take us to da toilet bowl?”
This guy was completely serious. That being said, not every Packers shareholder is this big of an idiot. Some of them just like to hang their sweet-ass certificate on the wall and point to it when their friends with terrible taste in football teams come over.
The stock sale itself will raise about $130 million to help finance a 6,600-seat Lambeau Field expansion, making the most badass stadium in the entire world even more badass. Wrap your head around that.
Shares go on sale at 8 a.m. CT on Tuesday. Info will be available on Packers.com and you must have a U.S. address to purchase.