The Green Bay Packers’ net income rose by about 30 percent to $5.2 million in the fiscal year ending March 31, team officials said.
Mark Murphy, chief executive of the National Football League’s only publicly traded franchise, said that despite a record $258 million in revenue, operating profit declined by more than half, to $9.8 million from $20.1 million. That’s driven by the player costs that have prompted owners in the U.S.’s most-watched television sport to seek a new labor contract.
“It really highlights the concerns we’ve had,” Murphy said in a conference call with reporters. “It’s obviously not a good situation when you’ve got player costs growing at a rate twice that of your revenue.”
NFL owners voted unanimously in May 2008 to end the league’s labor agreement with players two years early, clearing the way for a work stoppage after the 2010 season.
Kevin Mawae, president of the NFL Players Association, said in a statement that the Packers’ figures represented “1/32nd of the financial information we’ve requested in response to their demand that we give back $1 billion and increase our risk of injury by playing two additional games.”
Murphy said that since the previous agreement was signed in 2006, player costs have risen about 11 percent, or about twice as much as revenue. Incremental revenue increased $132 million since 2006, with $123 million going to players.
The Packers’ operating expenses rose to about $248 million from $228 million, including a $22 million increase in player costs to about $161 million from $139 million, he said.
Revenue grew about $10 million, to $258 million, Murphy said, primarily because money shared among the league’s 32 teams increased to $157 million from $147 million. Local revenue has remained flat at around $100 million for three years after a peak in 2007, he said.
“The only growth we’ve seen in revenue in recent years has been on the national side,” Murphy said.
The increase in the Packers’ net profit was driven by declining investment losses, according to Larry Weyers, the team’s treasurer.
Green Bay Packers, Inc. has been a publicly owned non- profit corporation since August 1923, according to the team’s website. More than 110,000 people own about 4.8 million shares, without receiving a dividend. Shares cannot be resold, except back to the team for a fraction of the original price.