The Green Bay Packers shareholders meeting is set for Thursday, July 21, at Lambeau Field.
The Packers are the only team in any major sports league to be collectively-owned by its fans.
It’s a rare bird in an ecosystem of billionaire peacocks like Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones.
The team is a public entity, and as such must announce its earnings at this month’s meeting. That’s information no other team in the NFL has to divulge.
What will the shareholders meeting reveal?
Well, first of all, the Packers ended the 2014 fiscal year with nearly thirty million dollars of profit.
Not too shabby, especially since it’s a technically a non-profit.
Overall, the Packers rank in the top ten teams in league revenues. This stat is all the more impressive considering the Packers are in the NFL’s smallest market nationally.
Second, where will these profits go?
Packers CEO Mark Murphy says some of the profits will go back into the stadium. Lambeau Field was built in 1957, which might as well be the Paleolithic period when it comes to this era of cutting-edge sports arenas and luxury boxes.
Lambeau Field, though, is a thing of beauty, even if the aluminum bench seating leaves something to be desired. Packers dot com may call its bench seating “iconic;” sources say it’s not very comfortable, especially in December.
But you don’t go to Lambeau to sit. You don’t go to the Frozen Tundra to be comfortable. You go to stand and cheer and enjoy the drama, while maybe creating some of your own. You go for the tailgating, the sausage, and the rivalries. You go to feel alive and then you obliterate yourself.
To any NFL fan, Lambeau is a holy site. You can’t ignore the lovely shaping of the bowl, nor the tiny houses that hug the stadium. The sun glaring from the luxury boxes, well, you can’t ignore that either.
But some people go to Lambeau and want to be cozy. And so the Packers will spend money to renovate the luxury seats.
The biggest new amenity for the box suites would be windows that open.
Yes, sports fans, it’s the little things, like being able to OPEN a WINDOW while sipping an overpriced beer that makes you feel like you are part of Cheesehead Nation.
I don’t mind the luxury boxes so much as the people who sit in them. Luxury boxes are a super fan’s dream: unlimited snacks and drinks. But you rarely meet a super fan in a luxury box.
In my limited experience with the luxury suites, the best seats are taken by people who aren’t even watching the game. I mean, what is the point of a great view of the frozen tundra if you are just fiddling around on Instagram?
Luxury suites are wasted on the rich and the clueless.
The Packers are unique in the NFL, but just like every other team, the club is upping its amenities for top shelf clients—about one percent of the Lambeau Field crowd. The Packers website boasts “168 state-of-the-art private suites,” and other premium seating, even though one of the best parts of going to Lambeau is, uh, being in the stands. On those iconic aluminum benches.
Packers CEO Mark Murphy has said about the new windows that open in the luxury boxes, “I think the fans really want to feel that they’re connected with the game.”
Packers fans are known for their passionate love of the game. Home games have sold out for decades, even when the team was bad. It is one of the most-storied sports romances of the twentieth century. A team going bankrupt gets bailed out by the humble city of Titletown, USA.
So to say that Green Bay fans need to connect more with the game? I don’t think so.
Just say that a little fresh air is what the luxury boxes need, what with all the unlimited snacks and drinks.
I can’t wait for the Packers to announce future stadium projects. Forget about a dome. How about gilded gold benches in the luxury boxes? A Green and Gold vomitorium for the one percent?
For a real authentic experience, a shirtless white dude in his twenties will puke on you. It’ll cost extra if you want the guy to paint his chest before the game.
This week’s Packers shareholders meeting will also reveal details about the NFL as a whole. And now we’re talking real money: each NFL team received more than two hundred million dollars as part of a national revenue sharing program in fiscal year 2014, which ended March 31st.
The NFL’s thirty-two teams divvied up more than Seven Billion Dollars in shared revenue. The bulk of that cash comes from broadcasting deals with ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, Fox and the NFL Network.
In 2010, NFL teams split three Billion dollars in shared revenue. Last year NFL teams split more than seven billion dollars. That’s huge increase in a mere five years! Talk about the new Sharing economy.
Of course, the National Football League is a for-profit entity. It’s not messing around. It’s banking on larger audiences domestically and internationally. It’s not owned by its fans like Green Bay.
Luckily, the Packers remains a house in good fiscal order. The Packer management and coaching is outstanding. “We compete with billionaires and compete very well,” said Mark McMullen, treasurer for the Packers.
The team isn’t spending all its money on fancy seats or windows. True to its humble roots, the team also contributed five million dollars to its Packers’ Foundation, which gives out grants to projects and non-profit groups.
For WORT News, I’m Elizabeth DiNovella