Green Bay Packers Fans Buy Stock To Fund Stadium Renovation: A New Model for Non-Profits?
What makes the Packers unique is that they are community-owned and managed, the only team in the NFL that is a non-profit and publicly owned!- yes, you can own stock in the team. This makes them slaves only to their fans and the game.
Green Bay Packers, Inc., has been a publicly owned, nonprofit corporation since Aug. 18, 1923. Shares are owned by fans none of whom receive any dividend on the initial investment. The corporation is governed by a board of directors and a seven member executive committee.
Owning Stock in a Non-Profit?
One of the most interesting business stories, the team is kept viable by its unselfish fans. Why unselfish? Because other then the pride that comes from “owning” their most favorite football team, fans don’t gain monetarily from owning stock! The stock is non-transferable- which mean you cannot trade or sell, and hence cannot make any money. But it does carry with it the right to attend the franchise’s annual shareholders’ meeting and related voting rights.
Stock Sale To Fund Lambeau Field Renovations
Green Bay Packers have sold stock five times in the team’s history, the latest being last week to fund renovations to their stadium. The Packers are hoping to raise dollars to renovate their home at Lambeau Field by selling stock. The offering opened December 6, 2011 at 8 a.m. CST and will continue until Feb. 29, 2012, subject to extension.
The stock sale is the fifth in team history, and all proceeds will go toward the $143 million expansion of Lambeau Field that is being funded without any taxpayer dollars. The centerpiece of the expansion includes an additional 6,700 seats in the south end zone, scheduled for completion in 2013.
The team will be offering 250,000 shares at $250 a piece to help pay for part of the renovations. No corporations or trusts will be allowed and no individual can own more than 200 total shares of the Packers.
While it is a good thing that local tax payers are not burdened with costs for renovation, this offering does not come without its share of criticism. But the thing to note here is how this feature can be modeled on other non-profit entities.
How is this “Non-Profit” Stock Option Different from Philantrophy or Charity? One Word: Ownership
When the community is given an option to “own” rather than to donate to, I think the dynamics change from spectator to do-er. This a a very valuable financial model for non-profits that want to make an impact. It could help take a fleeting organization with a great cause to the next level, where the community takes “ownership” of the mission or issue at large. Initiatives like this can be duplicated in many spheres from employee engagement in corporate responsibility initiatives to city planning and community betterment projects.
The team believes that the ‘fan-based’ ownership program is one huge reason behind its success, which cannot be ignored. It ties the team to its fans and makes it easier to be involved with its community.
“They literally have a vested interest in supporting the team, so the connection and the bond our fans have with the team is stronger than fans of any other team have.
The defending Superbowl champions have won more championships, 13, than any other team in National Football League history. The current team is undefeated and on pace to contend for the title once again. Due to these reasons, the Green Bay Packers is also a GOOD Project Finalist! and voted the best sports franchise in 2011 by ESPN.
The Green Bay Packers can dictate a paradigm shift in business definitions: You don’t always have to make a profit to do well.
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