The reason for Green Bay's survival is its unique public ownership structure. It has 112,158 shareholders, of which I am one. None of us can own more than 200,000 of thePackers' 4.75 million outstanding shares. The stock pays no dividend. It does not entitle you to a ticket to a game. It cannot be sold or transferred, except to family members. Nor can the team move except through dissolution of the Packers corporation, which until 1997 required all proceeds of the sale of the team (which now would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars) to go to a World War I memorial at the localAmerican Legion post.

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed, and now the proceeds will go to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, which has distributed more than $2 million to charities in Wisconsin since its founding in 1986. Besides the Packers Foundation, profits from the team go to the team as salaries, not into the pocket of some greedy owner.

As a result, Green Bay is liberated from the egomaniacal ownership of a Jerry Jones in Dallas, the tyranny of an Al Davis in Oakland or the team paralysis of a McCourt divorce as with the Dodgers. Unlike the owners in Minneapolis, Buffalo, N.Y., or Jacksonville, Fla., there can be no idle threats to move the team to Los Angeles in an effort to blackmail the community into building luxurious stadiums the local governments can ill afford. Yet, NFL rules prohibit any team other than Green Bay from being owned by more than 30 owners.

Historic Lambeau Field, home of the Packers, is reflective of the franchise's community spirit. No corporate monolith governs the food and beverage sales. Rather, by community tradition, each concession stand is staffed by local charities, which raise close to $1 million annually from their efforts. Thirsty for a beer? Try the booth staffed by De Pere Knights of Columbus. Hungry for a bratwurst? Volunteers from the
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh girls softball team are there to serve you. My personal favorite for years was a buttery grilled cheese sandwich served up by the Green Bay East High School Athletic Booster Club.

*excerpt from Mark Neubauer's awesome LA Times article 'LA should follow the cheeseheads'~here


Michael Ned said...

the real social(ist) network. go pack!

Nick Heywood said...

I sold shoes to the coach about a month and a half ago, whenever it was that they played the Patriots -- it was a neat Midwestern moment removed from the Midwest, and I felt proud.

PG said...

Seen any good football games lately? :)

R4TH said...