The Green Bay Packers, the only publicly owned franchise in major U.S. sports, have sold more than $46.3 million in stock in the first two days of their fifth share offering.
The team sold more than 185,000 shares at $250 each in the opening 48 hours, club President Mark Murphy said yesterday in an e-mailed release. The National Football League team originally planned to sell 250,000 shares and will sell additional stock should demand exceed that number, Murphy said in a Dec. 6 conference call when the team began the sale.
The stock doesn’t pay dividends or appreciate in value and cannot be sold. The Packers are raising money for a $143 million renovation of Lambeau Field that will add two new gates, roughly 6,700 seats and a new video board.
“We’re humbled by the response from our fans and their desire to help the Packers achieve long-term success,” Murphy said in the release. “The expansion will enhance the stadium experience for fans, increase our team’s home-field advantage and ensures that Lambeau Field continues be a source of pride for fans everywhere.”
Shareholders are given a vote for the team’s board of directors and can attend stockholders’ meetings every summer in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with exclusive access to events such as rookie practices and stadium tours. They also have a special store with apparel such as “I Own A Piece of the Pack” T-shirts.
The team sold 1,600 shares in the first 11 minutes of the sale, which is scheduled to continue through the mail and at PackersOwner.com until Feb. 29, subject to extension. Residents in all 50 states and three U.S. territories have purchased stock, according to the release.
‘Big Pride Thing’
Matthew Weir, a vice president at Taconic Investment Partners LLC in New York City, said he bought stock on the sale’s first day partially because it was a direct way to support his favorite team.
“It’s also a big pride thing,” Weir, 30, said in a telephone interview. “It’s the ability to say you’re an owner of an NFL team and a participant in something that’s only happened a limited amount of times.”
The Packers’ first three sales, in 1923, 1935 and 1950, saved the franchise from bankruptcy, according to the team. This sale and the team’s 1997 offering went towards the redevelopment of Lambeau Field.
The franchise won its fourth Super Bowl in February, a game that was the most-watched television event in U.S. history. The Packers are 12-0 this season, the only undefeated team in the league.
“When you understand the economics of sports today, you look at the big-market teams and then you look at what Green Bay’s been able to do,” Weir said. “Here is an opportunity to add to their success, not only today, but for the future to ensure that they stay competitive and keep those winning traditions going.”