The Green Bay Packers are testing their fans to see how much they truly love their team.
The Packers are giving members of their fanbase a chance to call themselves “owners” by offering 300,000 shares of stock in the team at $300 each, which would net $90 million. It’s just the sixth time in the franchise’s 102-year history that fans can purchase stock, with the process starting on Tuesday and running through Feb. 25.
While the Packers are publicly owned, the NFL’s oldest franchise isn’t publicly traded. So the stock isn’t going to pay dividends, and it can’t be bought or sold on an exchange. It’s not like buying stock in other parent companies that own sports teams, such as Liberty Media (Atlanta Braves) or Rogers Communications (Toronto Blue Jays).
While the stock provides no tax exemption, or quite frankly any other financial benefits, it’s unlikely to deter one of the most passionate fanbases in sports from opening its collective wallet.
"We appreciate the interest that fans have expressed in our sixth stock offering," Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy said in a statement.
The Packers currently have 360,760 shareholders (owning a total of 5,011,558 shares) amassed through stock sales back in 1923, 1935, 1950, 1997 and 2011. But again, the perks of owning a stake in the Packers are minimal—they include the ability to vote on the Packers’ Board of Directors but offer no say in team operations or personnel decisions. These shares, though, can be transferred to family members.
The NFL requires funds raised by fans via stock to go toward stadium projects. So the Packers will allocate this extra money toward the costs of improvements at Lambeau Field. The historic NFL stadium last completed a major renovation in 2015.
It’s a unique business move for the Packers, who are among the 32 NFL teams stabilizing business after the coronavirus pandemic reportedly cost the league nearly $4 billion. Sportico previously reported the Packers took in $61.8 million in local revenue in 2020, down 71% from the 2019 season. The disrupted season left them with no operating profit and resulted in an operating loss of $38.8 million.
The team, however, offset some its shortfall by not dipping into its corporate reserves, which are now up to $511 million (though it did use those funds to open a credit facility). With the stock sale, the Packers look to close out their recovery year in a strong position, with a little extra help from the fans.