FT.com reporter Jason Abbruzzese submits this guest post for FT Alphaville.
250,000 shares are for sale at Packersowner.com for $250 a piece (check out the prospectus here), making a great stocking stuffer for anybody that bleeds green, gold and white. For that price, you get a handsome certificate cementing your place as a shareholder of the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Packers are the only NFL team that is publicly owned, and there are a variety of rules in the article of incorporation of the Packers that limit the shares, including the fact that no person may hold more than 200 shares, preventing anyone from taking over the team.
But don’t get excited by the prospect of these equities paying off on another playoff run. It’s not like owning stock in Premier League teams.
They do not pay dividends.
They do not pay capital gains.
They are not transferable. (Okay, they are but at $0.025 per share.)
They cannot appreciate.
While the Green Bay Packers is technically a for-profit organization, it operates as a non-profit, with a board of directors running the show.
So what’s the point of owning this stock? Partly because it allows you to attend annual shareholder meetings and vote for the board. For those more familiar with the other (real — Ed.) football, it’s similar to the mutual model of teams like Barcelona. The team wants to increase its stadium capacity by 6,700 and has recently raised ticket prices. Therefore a share issue such as this one in theory provides more accountability for fans who may have to stump up more to watch.
The stock means that the team is collectively owned by its own rabid fans, who aren’t about to vote to move the team to Los Angeles or any other market that could use a franchise. A reminder for out non-US readers: NFL teams, like their baseball and basketball counterparts, can be bought, sold and taken to new jurisdictions. (One year you’re the Brooklyn Dodgers, the next year you’re playing in LA.)
But as well as the chance to actually mean it when referring to their team as “we”, the stock might be the very reason that the Packers still reside in Green Bay. With little more than 100,000 people, the Green Bay area is not particularly large in population. The team does draw support from across the region, but remains a small market.
That means that the storied history of Vince Lombardi and the current championship belt celebration of Aaron Rodgers should be staying at the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field permanently.