The Green Bay Packers reported record financial results Friday, as fans returned to NFL stadiums in force, following the COVID-disrupted 2020 season. The team’s total revenue for the 12 months ending in March was $579 million, topping the previous high of $507 million in 2019.
Local revenue soared to $232 million, up from $62 million, as 78,000 fans on average—the second-highest in pro football—attended games at Lambeau Field, after no fans were allowed in 2020. Local revenue is driven by tickets, luxury suites, sponsorships and merchandise. It was $211 million in 2019 in the NFL’s smallest market, which punches well above its weight in the league’s financial hierarchy, thanks to a passionate fan base and rich legacy as a franchise. Team president Mark Murphy said the Packers typically rank between eighth and 10th for local revenue.
National revenue was $347 million, up 12% from the previous year’s $309 million. Sportico reported last week that NFL teams equally divvied up $11.1 billion from their national media rights, league sponsorships and shared revenue and royalties. The shared money represents more than 60% of the NFL’s total revenue.
The league’s media contracts with ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC make up the bulk of the equally shared revenue, but teams got a boost from sponsor revenue, which increased 23%, according to sponsor tracking firm IEG. It will easily top $400 million when the NFL’s next round of TV deals kickoff in 2023.
“The storyline for our financials from a year ago is return to normalcy,” Murphy said in a Zoom call discussing the results.
The Packers posted a record operating profit of $77.7 million with fans back at Lambeau. The local revenue dip in 2020 meant a loss of $38.8 million. The previous high-water mark of $75 million was for the 2015 season.
The Packers are the NFL’s only publicly owned, nonprofit corporation. The club wrapped up its sixth stock sale in February, selling shares priced at $300 each. It added 176,000 new shareholders and raised $64.7 million to fund ongoing construction projects at Lambeau Field, including new video boards and concourse upgrades. The sale brought the total number of shareholders to 539,000, with 17% based in Wisconsin. The shares do not appreciate, pay no dividends and cannot be resold.
“Maintaining our stadium as a top-tier facility that serves as a year-round destination contributes to the sustained success of both the franchise and our community," Murphy said when announcing the sale results.
The team’s rainy day fund was more than $500 million at the start of the year but fell to $440 million with the stock market tumult. Murphy said the team has invested $467 million into stadium-related projects since 2011, including its Titletown mixed-use development.
In March, the Packers lost out to the Detroit Lions to host the 2024 NFL Draft. Murphy said the team would bid on the draft for 2025 and 2027.
Sportico valued the team at $3.51 billion last year, 15th in the NFL.