NFL champs’ owners ante up for the experience not the profits

By Dan Hallett, CFA, CFP on December 6th, 2011

Today sports fans may be able to fulfill one of their dreams for a mere $275 USD.  Starting December 6 Green Bay Packers, Inc (“GBP”), the corporation that owns the reigning NFL champions of the same name, starts selling at least 250,000 “common shares” to the public at a price of $250 per share (+ $25 administrative fee – all in USD).  Despite selling the shares via an offering document, this is not a standard common stock investment.

Stadium Donation

The proceeds of the sale will be used to renovate and expand Lambeau Field – the Packers’ home stadium – leaving buyers with nothing more than a donation with no associated tax benefits.

To the organization’s credit, it makes a good effort to point out – via its website and offering document – that GBP is a non-profit corporation.  Further, the offering document highlights several times that no dividends will ever be paid (which makes sense since dividends are paid from after-tax profits and this is a non-profit) and buyers will have no chance to profit from their share purchase.

GBP takes care of that via a first right of refusal on any dispositions, which states that GBP can buy back any shares at $0.025 per share – a tiny fraction of any price ever paid by owners.  And if the organization is ever shut down and liquidated, any profits and assets are to be used for specified charity and community purposes – not to add jingle to owners’ jeans.

So what do the lucky owners get for forking out a couple of C-notes?

The Experience

Initially, I thought purchasers might be able to secure some perk like first dibs on one of the new 6,700 seats being added in the pending expansion.  Not so.  Nor will owners enjoy any special benefits or discounts on seats or merchandise.

Instead, owners get the right to buy “special shareholders merchandise”, an invitation to GBP’s annual meeting and the right to vote at meetings.  (With 5 million shares oustanding and a maximum of 200 shares per owner, however, the voting rights have only sentimental value.)  While none of the GBP owners will be able to get the Mark Cuban experience, purchasers will be able to scratch “owning a championship sports team” off of their bucket lists.