GuruFocus Premium Membership

Serving Intelligent Investors since 2004. Only 96 cents a day.

Free Trial

Free 7-day Trial
All Articles and Columns »

Green Bay Packers Shareholders History; and 5 Stocks You Can Buy to Own a Sports Team

February 05, 2011 | About:
In recognition of the Green Bay Packers trip to the Super Bowl, I though it would be interesting to discuss the Packers shareholder system and offer a few ideas on how to invest in sports teams through a public company. The Packers are unique in that they’re owned by their fans. Packers.com says there are 4,750,937 shares owned by 112,158 stockholders. As a Chicago Bears fan, it actually pains me to discuss the Packers in this public forum, but I was fascinated by a discussion a few weeks ago before the Bears/Packers game about how former Bears owner George Halas actually saved the Packers team from being forced to move out of Green Bay in the 1950’s. If not for Papa Bear Halas, the Green Bay Packers wouldn’t exist today.

With the disclosure of my fan allegiance out of the way, let’s move on to how the Packers are organized. On August 18, 1923 the Green Bay Packers became a publicly owned, non-profit corporation. They’re governed by a 45 member board of directors and a seven member executive committee. The committee “directs corporate management, approves major capital expenditures, establishes broad policy and monitors management's performance in conducting the business and affairs of the corporation.” The Packers hold a shareholders meeting each July inside Lambeau Field.

What if the Packers were sold? That’s another unique story. It’s written in their charter that if they are ever sold, all assets would be transferred to the Sullivan-Wallen Post of the American Legion in order to build a "proper soldiers memorial." This beneficiary was changed in 1997 to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, presumably because to spend the amount of money they’d make from the sale of the team, a soldier’s memorial would have to consist of pure gold and diamonds. Forbes estimates that the team is worth $1 billion. If my math is correct, each share is worth approximately $210. To prevent the sale of the team, and enrichment of the shareholders, no own is allowed to own more than 200,000 shares.

The Packers are the only NFL team to publicly release financial information. Revenue is $242 million per year, and operating income is $9.8 million. That puts their PE ratio at a lofty 102, and no dividends!

They are also the only professional sports team that is a public company with a board of directors. There are five other sports teams that are owned by public companies, but don't have their own board of directors. If this is a space you’re interest in, look at investing in the Atlanta Braves baseball team, owned by Liberty Media (LINTA), the New York Rangers hockey team, owned by Cablevision (CVC), the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team, owned by Compuware (CPWR), the Seattle Mariners, owned by Nintendo of America (NTDOY.PK), and the Toronto Blue Jays, owned by Rogers Communications (RCI).

The Packers issued additional shares several times in order to raise money. In addition to the original 1923 issuance, they also “diluted” existing shareholders in 1935, 1950 and 1997. The most recent share issuance was to help fund the Lambeau Field redevelopment project.

No matter who wins the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Packers can lay claim to being one of the most storied football teams in the league. They’ve remained competitive throughout the history of the league despite being in a small market. That’s a testament to their history, strong fan base, and the uniqueness of the corporate structure. Without that structure, they probably wouldn’t have remained in Wisconsin through all these years. Unlike other team's fans, if the Packers end up winning the Super Bowl, the fans who own shares of the team can legitimately say, as owners, that they played a part in the win. If not for their investments through the years, the Packers wouldn't be representing them in Super Bowl XLV.

Disclosure: No positions

About the author:

Steven Kiel
Steven Kiel is the president and chief investment officer for Arquitos Capital Management, a Virginia-based investment management firm. He is a graduate of George Mason School of Law and a captain in the Army Reserves. He manages two spoke funds, The Freedom Fund, a value-oriented portfolio, and The Hayek Fund, a portfolio dedicated to free market principles. He can be contacted at steven.kiel@arquitos.com or through the firm's website at www.arquitos.com.

Visit Steven Kiel's Website


Rating: 3.7/5 (29 votes)

Comments

Toddius
Toddius - 3 years ago
I don't think Cablevision owns the Rangers anymore. I believe they're owned by MSG - which also owns the Knicks.
slkiel
Slkiel - 3 years ago
Good catch. I didn't know this before, but it appears they were spun off a year ago and MSG, LP owns them.
boutch2fr
Boutch2fr - 3 years ago
don't forget these (good) french soccer teams ;)

- Bordeaux owned by TV group MMT

- Lyon directly quoted (OL Groupe)
dak2123
Dak2123 - 3 years ago
I am not sure if Compuware (CPWR) owns the Carolina Hurricanes. I searched through their 2009 annual report using the terms "Hockey" , "Carolina" , "Hurricanes" and "sports" .

Under "Related Party Transactions" it does say that Peter Karmanos Jr. has significant ownership interests in entities that own and/or manage various sports arenas, and is a shareholder in the Compuware Sports Corporation. But nothing I saw suggests that Compuware the company (CPWR) directly own the hurricanes.

The related party transactions were simply saying that Peter Karmanos Jr. earns money through his outside interests in owning an arena that Compuware pays to have its name associated with, the "Compuware Arena."

slkiel
Slkiel - 3 years ago
Ah, the risks of using secondary sources...
Bruce hop
Bruce hop - 3 years ago


does anyone know which day in July the Shareholders meeting for 2011 will be held
calvinklien47
Calvinklien47 - 1 year ago
Typically, to be an owner in any volume of a sports team, one has to be fantastically wealthy to even think of it. However, for the sports fan with some money to invest, there are a small number of publicly traded sports teams, a few of which are not bad stock choices. If you need money for the bills instead of taking it out of your investments, get a short term loan.

Please leave your comment:


Get WordPress Plugins for easy affiliate links on Stock Tickers and Guru Names | Earn affiliate commissions by embedding GuruFocus Charts
GuruFocus Affiliate Program: Earn up to $400 per referral. ( Learn More)
Free 7-day Trial
FEEDBACK