Green Bay Packer Fans: Owners and Shareholders

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The letter was waiting for me on the kitchen counter when I arrived home from work today. With the Green Bay Packers logo as the return address, I knew what it was. No, Ted Thompson was not reaching out to me in his quest for more fullbacks, but in fact, Packers President Mark Murphy was making a request of me. Mark Murphy wants my vote.

I am a Green Bay Packers shareholder, one of 112,120 people who can make that claim. 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 (damn!). While my rights as a stockholder are very limited, I do have a vote in the election of the  Board of Directors. And that’s what the letter is about. The bold green type on the outside of the envelope implores me to “Embrace your membership and VOTE. It’s your obligation.”

Since the Packers were converted to a non-profit corporation in 1923, there have been 4 stock sales. From Packers.com:

There now have been four stock drives in the 90-year history of the team. The first stock sale, which took place at that 1923 meeting, saw local merchants raise $5,000 by selling 1,000 shares for $5 apiece, with a stipulation that the purchaser also had to buy at least six season tickets.

The second, in 1935, raised $15,000 after the corporation had gone into receivership. At that point, the non-profit Green Bay Football Corporation was reorganized as the Green Bay Packers, Inc., the present company, with 300 shares of stock outstanding.

The third, in 1950, came on the heels of founder Curly Lambeau’s 30-year dominion, when the club’s officers arranged to amend the corporation’s bylaws to permit the sale of up to 10,000 total shares of stock (opening up more than 9,500 shares for purchase), to limit the number of shares that any individual could own. The team also increased the number of directors from 15 to 25.

The response to the 1950 drive was inspiring, with people from all across Wisconsin, as well as former Green Bay residents living in other states, coming forward to buy the $25 shares of stock. Roughly $50,000 was raised in one 11-day period alone. Reportedly, one woman from a farm near Wrightstown, Wis., showed up at the team’s offices with $25 worth of quarters in a match box. A total of about $118,000 was generated through this major stock sale, helping to put the Packers on a sound financial basis once again.

The fourth came late in 1997 and early in 1998. It added 105,989 new shareholders and raised more than $24 million, monies which were utilized for the Lambeau Field redevelopment project. Priced at $200 per share, fans bought 120,010 shares during the 17-week sale, which ended March 16, 1998.

As a means of running the corporation, a board of directors is elected by the stockholders. The board of directors in turn elect a seven-member Executive Committee (officers) of the corporation, consisting of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and three members-at-large. The president is the only officer who receives compensation. The balance of the committee is sitting gratis.

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

Upon opening the envelope, there is a letter from Mark Murphy. He writes that the Packers are putting a strong emphasis on voting this year. They want everyone to fullfill their obligation and just as importantly, do it online. Voting online “saves the organization paper and money – resources we can better use elsewhere.” Maybe if they save enough, Ted Thompson will dip into the free agent market next year. Or maybe not.

As incentive for voting online, my name will be entered into a drawing for various prizes, including an Aaron Rodgers autographed helmet, Charles Woodson autographed football, and some Pro Shop gift cards. yes, that was enough incentive for me. I quickly cast my vote online.

And this year, there is a new wrinkle from the Packers marketing department. There is now an exclusive “shareholder merchandise” area at packersproshop.com. I make a beeline for the site, logging in with my special username and password (You can torture me if you like, but I’m not telling you what it is…).  It shows that I can purchase a variety of apparel that says “shareholder”, t-shirts that say “I Own a Piece of the Pack”, and of course the usual collection of  keychains, shot glasses and Christmas ornaments.

I can order any of these items, but you can’t – unless you also ponied up the $200 in 1997 for that piece of paper that’s probably framed and hanging on your wall. Trust me, the ability to buy shareholder merchandise was not worth $200, and neither is my one vote for Packers’ board of directors. I consider my $200 a donation to support the team I’ve loved for over 40 years. But mostly, just to be able to say I’m a part-owner of an NFL franchise – that’s priceless.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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  • PackersThad

    I was only 10 in 1997, but I regret not having enough money to buy shares of the Packers. I think about that missed opportunity almost every day! Just like your last paragraph states, the $200 isn’t for all the perks of being a shareholder, it would be to support my favorite team, and for me to be able to say that I am a minority owner in an NFL football team. I hope they have another one soon!! I’m thinking, if we have more than a year of uncapped salaries, maybe I may have a chance.

    The funny thing is that I would probably spend as much on framing the stock as I would in buying it!! One day! One day!!

    I know this is my first post, but I LOVE your site, I read it often!!! All hail the TT avatar!!!

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Hey Thad!

      Thanks for commenting. I hope to hear from you more often.

      I would expect that at some point down the road, in order to keep up with the big market teams, Green Bay will have to turn to their fans for help once more. Be ready!

      • Janice Peterson

        Does Greenbay the city economically benefit from the fact that the Packers are owned locally? I have many arguments saying that instead of millions of dollars going to some rich owner000the packer’s support greeenbay. jan

  • PackersRS

    I didn’t know the dynamics. Great article Al!

    BTW:
    Username: Jersey Al
    Password: Kregg Lumpkin

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Thanks! Nice attempt at the login, but, no cigar…

  • http://purplepantsgreenjersey.com Max

    You going to Lambeau for the shareholders meeting in July?

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Unfortunately, no… Going to try for next year…

  • http://JerseyAlspackerssite Daniel C. Loberger

    Congratulations enjoy this , brag it up and be proud of it .
    Us packers fans get ,part of the passion.
    From another pack fan , Da Big Dawg

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Thanks!

  • http://greenbaypackernation.compackerslounge.com John Rehor

    Be proud of being an owner of the best team in all of professional sports. There is something about “owning” the Packers that brings the fans closer to the team and creates the special bond between the team and fans.

    Great post Al!

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Thanks John, it is a special bond. Unlike any other Sports team I’ve been a fan of.

    BTW, your AR moustache avatar makes me laugh as much as my TT wild eyes one does…

  • dgtalmn

    One of the best things I did was purchase 1 share in 1997. It is great to tell folks that I am a NFL team owner. Sure gets a lot of looks. I did the voting online, love to win a Rodgers helmet :)

    BTW, thanks for the site, great info!

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      OK, I’ve met another one of my partners. See you in the owners skybox – LOL.

  • LeAnne

    Does anybody know how to contact the Shareholders office? I didn’t get my letter this year, so I can’t vote, can’t get tickets to the meeting, etc. Want to make sure it doesn’t happen again next year.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Packers Ticket Office
      P.O. Box 10628
      Green Bay, WI 54307-0628

      or

      Green Bay Packers
      C/o Shareholder Services
      P.O. Box 64945
      St. Paul, MN 55164-0948

      • Dobber

        I have been meaning to update my address for a long time…and dug up an email from someone with the Packers related to address change of shareholder. I just called and switched it, so I know the # information is still valid.

        Contact info: Please contact our stock transfer company, Wells Fargo at 1-800-891-2981.

        It took all of 5 minutes…they did NOT need the certificate number but did confirm me by SS# and previous address(es).

        • Jeff

          Is it possible to change your address on your stock cert. Mine has my ex wife’s address on it.

          • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

            Yes – Contact the Packers – info in the comments above…

  • LeAnne

    Thanks, didn’t have the St. Paul address.

  • Jim M

    Loved your article and was always intrigued about how the shareholding worked. I’m from Buffalo and a Bills fan and we are all here hanging on by our fingernails in Western NY. We realize as a small market team that the target is squarely on our backs and our days as an NFL city are numbered (even though we sell out every game)….The public stock thing was floated a while back but we were told that the NFL has banned any further franchises from doing it…..So as a fan of a terminally ill franchise I can say one thing…when the Bills do leave I’ll be switching my allegience to the Packers…….A small market city that helped make the NFL a success and has allowed the “fan” to be part of the process.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I can see where the NFL wouldn’t want any more publicly-owned teams. What they want are billionaire owners with deep pockets.

  • Brian Simonis

    Hey Al, Its Brian, a reader of yours off of Bleacher Report. Now, back in 97 when they had the last one, I was a broke kid, and couldnt afford to get even one, I begged the Folks for one for Christmas, I remember, the rest of my family are Bears fans, as we are from Chicago.
    But my question is, do you think that there may be another stock sale in the near future. I would just love to have a piece of the team I rooted for since I was 3. I became a fan out of a child feeling sorry for all the Bears fans picking on the Pack, I revel in what the team I chose to ride with has become since, and even more as to where the Bear-leys are at. Im just wonderirng if there has been any chatter of a future stock sale. Ive wanted one for so long.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Hey Brian! Thanks for stopping in. My guess is that when they look to do another expansion, including developing a “Packer World” on the property around the stadium, that they will tap their most predictable income source, the rabid fan base. There are so many like you that were too young at the time, that would buy stock in a heartbeat now. So I think sometime in the next 10 years it will happen.

      I’ve phased out the other sites I post on and am totally concentrating on my own site here, so now you’ll have to come here to read my stuff. I hope I can add you to the list of regulars!

      Thanks again,

      Al

  • Victoria

    Great article Al.
    I have been a shareholder since the last offering. Unfortunately at that time I also moved to the East Coast. Every year I went through the same ritual. I would get my meeting notice and realize that due to other commitments I would be unable to attend…Until this year!!

    I moved back to Wisconsin a few months ago. Needless to say I will be flying in from southern Wisconsin on Wed to attend my first IN PERSON meeting on Thursday…Oh Happy Days indeed!

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      That’s great! I’m hoping to make it next year…

  • http://www.aol.com Da Bears

    I would love to buy shares of stock of my favorite team, the Chicago Bears. Maybe I will buy Packer stock the next time around and use it to wipe my butt with.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      haha. Be careful what you wish for!

  • Barb

    How do I transfer a share to a family member? Who do I contact and how?

  • Don

    I purchased a share for $200 in 1997. I have lost the original sharehouse copy. do you know how I would go about of receiving another copy from the packers?

  • http://www.cameorose.com Gary Bahr

    Thanks to all for all the work and great performances leading to the SuperBowl in 2011.

  • Scott

    Thanks for a great read,I am a NYC based Packers fan. I missed out on the last stock sale, and regret it, I hope they have another sale sometime soon.

    Packers: 33 Steelers: 28

    GO PACK GO!

  • Nikhil

    Great Article! I can tell you one thing, if all the nfl franchises were owned by fans, who love their players, instead of greedy billionaires, there wouldn’t be a lockout crisis next year. GO PACK!!

  • recruiter

    Lifetime Packer fan – since I met Coach Lombardi in 1965 at age 5, pointed at him and said “McHale’s Navy” – who missed out in 97, too. I really hope the club has another offering soon. I am so in.

  • Jean

    Will they be selling any more shares of the Packers any time soon? What is the price of them. I would love to be able to say I am part owner of My Fav Team the Green Bay Packers.

    • paul

      packers stock is on sale for 250, hurry up and become an owner

  • Tye

    I see that there could be a sale of stock coming soon. Cross your fingers. I am not sure how I missed the last one considering I have been a fan for most of my life. If and when they sell them, where do you buy them? Is there a list? Just wondering how. I would like to be prepared if they do. I will not miss this chance again. Any info is appreciated.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Team will release the details when they are set – no word yet…

  • Jeannie

    If my memory serves me correctly, when my brother and I were children, I believe we were each given 10 shares of Green Bay Packer stock. I have no idea what happened to the paper. My father had season tickets in Milwaukee when they still played there. Where can I find a list of stockholders’ names? The stock was a present from one of our parents’ friends.
    Thank you,
    Jeannie

  • Kevin

    It took a few years,but I finally found this site,due to the new stock sell.I bought my stock in 97,but never got another notice.I will finally get the newsletter.Wells Fargo want’s me to set up an account with them.Do I need to do this? What are the advantages/disadvantages of this?

  • http://AllGreenbayPackers.com Mark T. Post

    I purchased stock in the recent sale. How do I get my password etc for the Shareholder Dept to make a purchase? Thanks. Love this site. Great job.

    Go Pack Go Tennessee fan Still have my stocking cap (BoBo) from the 4th grade. P.S. I am 58

  • susie

    tried calling the shareholder number on hold both times more than half an hur, poor customer service! is there a way to search for shareholder names? am trying to find info for estate.