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League has no plans to let other teams sell “stock”

Green Bay Packer player Woodson joins Packers' CEO Murphy as Murphy hammers a gavel to close the trading session at the NYSE in New York Reuters

One of the most significant — but most overlooked — stories of the week comes from Green Bay, where the fifth stock offering in team history resulted in the purchase of 185,000 shares in only two days.

At $250 per share, that’s $46.25 million.  For nothing.

OK, it’s not really nothing.  The purchaser gets a certificate of ownership of a share of stock.  But the Packers have emphasized that the stock “does not constitute an investment in ‘stock’ in the common sense of the term,” and that the buyer of the stock should not expect to receive a dividend or otherwise make a profit.

As many have suggested, the Packers’ ability to sell stock amounts to a license to print money.  Though purchasers receive an annual invitation to the shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field and the perpetual ability to legitimately say “we” when referring to the team, it’s a glorified piece of memorabilia.

Of course, in this age of free agency, it’s a far safer investment than an authentic jersey.

The rules permit the Packers to sell “stock” because the Packers already had been selling stock before the league implemented a rule against such transactions.  And despite the Packers’ ability to raise so much money so quickly by selling fancy pieces of paper with embossed logos, the league does not plan to revise its rules to permit teams to shave off a small slice of the franchise in order to create the ultimate fan club.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email on Saturday that the league is not considering any changes to the rules, and that the situation remains unique to the Packers.

Still, teams should consider coming up with similar devices for persuading fans to cough up money for, essentially, nothing.  Since the Packers’ stock isn’t stock in the common sense of the term, common sense suggests that teams could come up with a similar label for the privilege of purchasing a sheet of paper that declares a special devotion to the team.

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39 Responses to “League has no plans to let other teams sell “stock””
  1. bigjimatch says: Dec 11, 2011 11:05 AM

    Other teams already do this under the guise of “your chance to own a piece of the new stadium” aka personal seat licenses.

  2. howley1 says: Dec 11, 2011 11:07 AM

    I don’t have a problem with the Packers stock thing. If it’s worth it to the buyers, whatever. They can’t use the money on football operations, though. It’s strictly for stadium improvements.

  3. rao50858 says: Dec 11, 2011 11:10 AM

    Get over it.

  4. ejmat2 says: Dec 11, 2011 11:11 AM

    Just another way of showing favoritism towards Goodell’s favorite team. It’s okay though. Let the Packer fan buy stock in the team and not get any ROI. I love how the fans always try and use the fact they pay taxes into the team and “share” ownership. LOL. As if they have a choice. LMAO.

  5. orangeflh says: Dec 11, 2011 11:17 AM

    Other teams already have something. PSL’s.

  6. safetypolice says: Dec 11, 2011 11:18 AM

    It’s okay because it’s the Packers.

  7. arkadyrenko says: Dec 11, 2011 11:18 AM

    I understand the reasons why only the Packers are allowed to sell ownership shares in the team, and I’m cool with that.

    But allowing the Packers to sell worthless pieces of paper that they call “stock” while prohibiting the rest of the league to do the same thing is asinine.

    If the Packers are allowed to sell fake “stock” in the team to people with too much money, the rest of the league should be able to do the same thing.

  8. nyyjetsknicks says: Dec 11, 2011 11:29 AM

    Why would the league care? It’s a piece of paper and everyone, including the people buying the stock knows this. Sell some stock and lower ticket prices, it’ll be a win for everyone.

  9. murphintampa says: Dec 11, 2011 11:30 AM

    How has Jerry Jones not come up with something like this yet?

  10. dellied says: Dec 11, 2011 11:53 AM

    Oh please. GB is the smallest market in the NFL, by an enormous longshot. It’s not even close.

    The difference between the Packers’ stock sale and not having one would probably be taxing the fanbase, as most other franchises would do. It doesn’t change the fact that the Packers have to take out loans to pay for the rest of the stadium improvements.

    Other franchises, with a couple of exceptions, have comparatively enormous home markets that they can tax and receive enormous boons to their stadium funds. Though GB has had taxes to fund stadium improvements, it’s nothing compared to the super stadiums that other teams have built.

    Now people get something that they feel gives them value instead of simply having tax money wrested from their accounts. I’d rather have a piece of sports memorabilia and symbolic ownership of the team than simply being unfairly taxed. Further, fans that live far away from the stadium/market can kick in their fair share to support the team as well.

    It’s not “asinine” any more than it is “asinine” that GB is 1/10th-1/30th the size of most NFL markets.

  11. warvette says: Dec 11, 2011 11:56 AM

    nice “reporting”.

  12. 1wildfan1 says: Dec 11, 2011 11:57 AM

    Shows you what idiots most of the rubes that follow the Packers are. They will pay $250 for basically nothing, because then they can lisp through their 4 teeth “I’m part owner of da Packers”

  13. jrcthree says: Dec 11, 2011 11:58 AM

    If the Vikings can sell stock, they can have a place ready without the taxpayers paying for them over school, over bridges, and over every other necessities. NFL needs to be open about that. Same goes for the Chargers and other franchises that are looking for a new venues.

  14. Little Earthquake says: Dec 11, 2011 11:59 AM

    You’d think the league would be down with $250 donations to its teams for stadium improvements. But then I guess we’d see which fans REALLY want to pay for a new park.

  15. sask9999 says: Dec 11, 2011 12:00 PM

    Every other team gets public funds to renovate/build stadiums. They just get it from the government. The Packers are cutting out the middle man and going straight to the tax payer. No advantage for the Packers.

  16. outlawshark says: Dec 11, 2011 12:09 PM

    Packers stock is simply something of pride to hang on the wall. For all the folks slamming it, invite me into your home and I promise you that I can find $250 worth of things I think you shouldn’t have invested in. To discard someone else’s treasure is pretty low.

  17. east96st says: Dec 11, 2011 12:19 PM

    Is this terribly different from selling a “jersey” made in a sweat shop in Vietnam for less than a dollar and charging fans $85 dollars for it? Sure, you can wear a jersey. You can hang up your “stock” in your home as a decoration. Either way, it is overpriced memorabilia that people buy because they choose to. It’s their money and they should be allowed to spend it on “stock” or jerseys if that’s their thing. Beats PSLs and/or taxes. Packers thought of it first and get to keep it because it was grandfathered in. Why the NFL doesn’t allow it across the board is a bit of a mystery. Memorabilia comes in many different forms. If people want their team’s “stock”, they should be allowed to buy it. As long as it’s sold as memorabilia and NOT as an investment, what’s the harm?

  18. safetypolice says: Dec 11, 2011 12:29 PM

    You all should know the Packers aren’t subject to the same rules as the rest of the league. Heck, the trophy is even named after them. They should be able to do whatever they want, even if it’s selling “stock” to people who actually get nothing in return. Let’s not even get into the fact that the players on the team that are repeat offenders (cough cough Charles Woodson) for personal fouls/helmet to helmet hits aren’t ever mentioned as possible suspendees…

  19. rarson says: Dec 11, 2011 12:36 PM

    “And despite the Packers’ ability to raise so much money so quickly by selling fancy pieces of paper with embossed logos…”

    Same as the dollars in your pocket, except those aren’t embossed (and they inflate).

  20. 1wildfan1 says: Dec 11, 2011 12:38 PM

    outlawshark, send me your email. I have a whole notebook full of similar “treasure” I’ll sell you for the bargain price of $250. And this treasure has 80 sheets, rather than just one like this Packers “stock” issue.

  21. gamermwm says: Dec 11, 2011 1:03 PM

    I can imagine a braggart, obnoxious Packers fan buying one of these $250 “stocks” and saying “we” everytime he talks about the team

    I’d consider paying $250 for people not to have the so called right to do this. Packers can get any more annoying?

  22. outlawshark says: Dec 11, 2011 1:11 PM

    1wildfan1, the point is that I feel good about how I spend my money and you disagree with it. Sounds petty on your part.

  23. wvugrad00 says: Dec 11, 2011 1:18 PM

    The reason the league does not allow other teams to sell stock is due to the reporting rules that are associated to selling stock. The second a team issues stock they then have to open their books to the public and that’s the last thing the NFL wants

  24. dlmcc1010 says: Dec 11, 2011 1:20 PM

    the better point is how stupid we are becoming as a society. Who would buy such a thing? That team makes alot of money as it is. Its just dumb that a person would purchase a piece of paper that is essentially worthless. You dont own anything in the team. You dont get jumped up on the season ticket waiting list, you get no dividend and you get no stock appreciation. The fact that they sold a few million worth makes me shake my head

  25. homebruer says: Dec 11, 2011 1:41 PM

    I hope they printed these “stocks” on soft paper.

  26. dellied says: Dec 11, 2011 1:43 PM

    So ridiculous. Just utterly absurd. You morons knocking fans for buying “stock” or whatever…. you still just don’t get it.

    You have yet to refute the inarguable logical point that many have already made:

    It’s a piece of sports memorabilia. There are a LOT of people out there, that are NOT Packer fans, that have a signed 300 dollar jersey on their wall (absolute value: 5-6 dollars in a sweatshop in China) or a football with a signature on it, or one of those retarded little mini helmets or bobble-head dolls, all that have no intrinsic value beyond being something you have sit on your wall or mantle.

    You know why no one has yet to refute that logic? Because it’s irrefutable. You have nothing.

    Hell, there are idiots that pay to be part of a “fan club” and pay well over 250 dollars into such a worthless notion over their lifetime, and receive a couple of bumper stickers in return.

    Your arguments that people who buy these pseudo-“stock” certificates are morons only point to your own stupidity. And that is absolutely inarguable. Your logic is worthless. Your arguments don’t hold water. You have nothing to go on except indignance over the fact the Packers are funding their stadium in a novel way that doesn’t require taking money from taxpayers.

    Suck it.

  27. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 11, 2011 1:43 PM

    PT BARNUM said it theres “a sucker born every minute” !

  28. dd393 says: Dec 11, 2011 1:46 PM

    The Packers are publicly owned and don’t have a Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones to screw up the team and pour dollar after dollar into 100,000 seat mausoleums to boost egos. All the Packers do is win. Plus, it’s a real kick as a fan to be in on something as special as this.

  29. orangeflh says: Dec 11, 2011 1:46 PM

    I’m amazed at the amount of “Packer envy” there is out there.

  30. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 11, 2011 1:47 PM

    I must applaud the NFL for realizing this is just a cheesehead thing ! Where else can you find a dope with a beaver hat and thermos sitting in sub zero temperatures that is dump enough to think they really are a part owner of a team for $250 ! I applaud the NFL for realizing that if you see stupid,, go the other way !

  31. dd393 says: Dec 11, 2011 1:48 PM

    Besides, the $250 is about the cost of two premium jerseys. Worth the cost.

  32. rollinghillsgolfer says: Dec 11, 2011 2:05 PM

    I bought a share this time and bought a share in the 90’s . I’ve been a fan since 1963 and although it’s not really stock in stock terms, I’m very proud to have done it and I would do it again. I probably have over 3 grand in Packer merchandise anyway

  33. rasalghoul says: Dec 11, 2011 2:16 PM

    Dellied, I wish I could give you more than one thumbs up. You nailed it. I bought a share in my son’s name, he is a budding Packers fan and what could be better than giving him something that makes him feel like he is connected to the team? The real crime is the level of ignorance in here… you would think some of these people just became NFL fans in the last 6 months. Do a little research before you come in here beating your chest and trash talking, you just end up looking foolish.

  34. acdc84 says: Dec 11, 2011 2:22 PM

    “They can’t use the money on football operations, though. It’s strictly for stadium improvements.”

    That’s the key. They aren’t gaining any kind of a competitive edge here. It’s a business deal, and a savvy and brilliant one at that.

  35. mdeatherage says: Dec 11, 2011 2:34 PM

    From the Packers’ Web site:

    “Presently [before this month’s offering], 112,205 people (representing 4,750,940 shares) can lay claim to a franchise ownership interest.

    “Shares of stock include voting rights, but the redemption price is minimal, no dividends are ever paid, the stock cannot appreciate in value, and there are no season-ticket privileges associated with stock ownership. No shareholder is allowed to own more than 200,000 shares, a safeguard to ensure that no one individual is able to assume control of the club.”

    It IS stock. It’s not an investment vehicle because “Green Bay Packers, Inc., has been a publicly owned NONPROFIT corporation since Aug 18, 1923, when original articles of incorporation were filed with Wisconsin’s secretary of state.” (emphasis added)

    Also: “Shares of stock cannot be resold, except back to the team for a fraction of the original price. Limited transfer of shares (i.e., to heirs and relatives) is permissible.”

    And if the franchise ever is sold by a vote of the shareholders, then after paying all expenses, “any remaining funds” go to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, changed by 1997 shareholder vote from the original beneficiary of the local American Legion post.

    The NFL won’t let other teams do this because of the last sentence in the first passage: no one person can assume control of the team. The majority of Packers stockholders are local fans who would never approve moving the franchise to a bigger market or holding the public hostage for a bigger stadium. If other franchises were similarly “limited,” there would be no Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens (nor a need for the Browns to move), and so forth. This could lead to reduced profitability and ratings, somehow, and the NFL doesn’t want to lose the leverage. That’s why, once the money became big, the NFL enacted rules to prevent any other club from being publicly owned. Publicly-owned clubs can’t have a Jerry Jones or Al Davis, and that’s just not done these days.

    It’s ownership in a nonprofit corporation. To pretend it’s not really stock just because Goldman Sachs can’t manipulate it is silly.

  36. 13xworldchamps says: Dec 11, 2011 2:41 PM

    The Packers are the only team in the league that has it’s books open to the public,

    Let Snyder, Jones, Irsay and the Other owners open their books and show were their Billions of dollars actually go and then we’ll talk about things like this.

    Haters abound when your the defending superbowl champs, are in great positopn for number two, and have the best player in the league with the best GM.

    By the way to all you haters, the only thing the stock sale money can be used for is stadium improvements, not player bonuses or signings or anything like that

    GO PACK GO……..

  37. stavreafavre says: Dec 11, 2011 3:27 PM

    Vikings were going to sell stock at $2.50 a pop and were looking at a firm $22.50 in the bank from their rabid fan base when the league pulled the plug on it. Tough break.

  38. tampajoey says: Dec 28, 2011 9:53 AM

    Other teams fans aren’t as stupid as Packers fans

  39. baywolfe says: Dec 28, 2011 10:35 AM

    @tampajoey, you’d think so, but I shudder to think of the number of shares the Cowboys could sell if they were allowed to.

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