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Green Bay's Right To Sell Stock Should Be Abolished

by David Lariviere
Publication: Forbes

December 16, 2011


 The Green Bay Packers have an unfair advantage over the rest of their National Football League brethren, and it is not just because they have sure-fire Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

The team, the only publicly traded franchise in all U.S. team sports, sold 185,000 shares of stock for $250 each, plus a $25 handling fee, and, as of Dec. 8, the Packers have raised between $43 million and $47 million, depending on which media outlet you read. The funds will go toward a $143 million expansion of Lambeau Field resulting in 6,700 additional seats, new high-definition video screens and a new entrance by 2013.

Unlike every other team, which has to go to city and state governments for referendums to renovate or build new facilities, the Packers can just put stock up for sale and, 48 hours later, they’ve raised more than $40 million free and clear.

So it prompts the question: “Why can’t every team raise capital in this manner?” The answer, according to Notre Dame professor Richard Sheehan, is that league bylaws prohibit it and that the Packers were “grandfathered in.” This stock sale is the fifth in the Packers’ history, the first three of which occurred in the 1920’s so they could avoid bankruptcy. The other was in 1997.

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