For just $250, you can become part owner of the Green Bay Packers, starting now.
The Packers, the NFL's only publicly owned team, launched their first stock sale in 14 years and fifth in team history on Tuesday, according to reports. Each share will help pay for $143 million worth of renovations to Lambeau to be completed for the 2013 season.
According to the Associated Press, Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said the team received 1,600 online orders in the first 11 minutes of the sale via the team Web site. Murphy said there was so much traffic that some fans were complaining about the wait and he found himself reassuring people the site was still working.
It's just a question of volume, Murphy said. Fans are excited about this opportunity. We just encourage fans to be patient.
The Packers offered 250,000 shares at $250 apiece, plus a $25 handling charge per order, the AP reports. Murphy said the team hopes to generate at least $22 million to help pay some of the $143 million. Some changes include adding 6,700 seats, new high-definition video screens and a new entrance.
The drawbacks to buying a share, however, are that the value doesn't go up, there are no dividends and it has virtually no resale value. Nevertheless, stockholders do get voting rights, invitations to attend annual meetings where they can meet Packers executives and tour the Packers Hall of Fame, the privilege of staying for the kickoff of training camp and special shareholder apparel.
The Packers previously had offerings in 1923, 1935, 1950 and 1997, according to the team Web site. The first three saved the team from bankruptcy, and proceeds from the fourth went toward a previous renovation of Lambeau Field, which was completed in 2003.
Before the sale on Tuesday, there were 112,205 shareholders who owned a total of 4.75 million shares, the AP reports. The sale itself runs through Feb. 29, subject to an extension. Only individuals, not businesses, can buy shares, and the max one can buy is 200, a figure that includes any stock purchased during the last sale in 1997.
Also, individuals can give newly purchased shares as gifts, but once ownership is established, a share can only be transferred within the immediate family. The sale is limited to people with U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands addresses. Current overseas soldiers and U.S. residents will have to use their U.S. addresses.
During the last sale in 1997, then-team president Bob Harlan was looking for ways to cover stadium renovation costs back then. He recalled that other owners besides him resisted investing because they worried that the Packers would use the money to gain an advantage over other in teams in compensating their coaches and improving their roster.
Only after Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney argued in favor of the idea did Harlan's proposal pass. Rooney specifically said that the Packers deserved unanimous support because they were a vital part of NFL history. As a result, the vote on the 1997 proposal was unanimous, and about 400,000 shares went on sale for $200 apiece. About 120,000 were sold, raising $24 million.
As for this year's shares, Murphy said the timing for investing is excellent given that the Packers are coming off a Super Bowl victory, clinched their division last weekend at 12-0 and are look to repeat as champs this year.
First and foremost, (buying stock is) a way for them to support and help the team, Murphy said. And it does give them bragging rights. They can say they're the owners of a Super Bowl champion team.