Green Bay Packers stock goes on sale, receives mixed feelings
Green Bay Packers stock went on sale today with the website slowing to a grind as the public logged on to buy shares, but not everyone was enthusiastic about the $250 stocks.
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The team hopes to generate at least $22 million through the stock sale to help defray the cost of a $143 million renovation project at Lambeau. Plans call for adding 6,700 additional seats, new high-definition video screens and a new entrance by 2013.Skip to next paragraph
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Before the sale, there were 112,205 Packers stockholders who own a total of 4.75 million shares. The latest sale did have restrictions: Stock can only be purchased by individuals, not businesses, and there's a 200-share cap, a figure that includes any stock purchased during the last sale in 1997.
The Packers have been a publicly owned nonprofit corporation since 1923. The team held its first stock sale that year, followed by sales in 1935 and 1950 that helped keep the franchise afloat even as other small-markets teams were sinking.
Back in 1997, the last time the Packers offered stock, then-team president Bob Harlan was looking for ways to cover stadium renovation costs. He recalled that other owners balked, worried that the Packers would use the money to compensate their coaches or improve their roster in a way other teams couldn't. It was only after Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney argued in favor of the idea that the proposal passed. Rooney said the Packers deserved unanimous support because they were a vital part of NFL history.
Some 400,000 shares went on sale that year for $200 apiece. About 120,000 were sold, raising $24 million.
Ryan Vaubel, 35, a lifelong Packer fan from Sun Prairie, Wis., said he can't justify spending $275 on a piece of paper. But he understands the Packers need money; he still remembers when the team sold chunks of Lambeau sod following the team's 1997 Super Bowl victory.
"I'm not personally disappointed. All you can say is you have a piece of paper," Vaubel said. "It's more or less just a way to donate money to the team so they can raise more revenue and remain competitive on the field."
"I'm still from Wisconsin and I'm still very proud of where I come from," she said. "I'd be very proud to put that stock option up on my wall and show my neighbors. It's just to be a part of (the Packers) legacy."