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In the last two seasons, the Green Bay Packers have been the NFL’s most successful franchise. But what makes them unique goes far beyond the playing field. With a management structure unlike anything else in American professional sports, they have the NFL’s best owners.

There is no Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder in Green Bay. Instead, the Packers are publicly traded, with a total of 112,158 shareholders owning 4,750,937 shares in Green Bay Packers Incorporated. It’s a much sounder model for pro sports ownership, as almost every franchise would benefit from being owned by their fans.

The Packers’ stocks do not gain in value, there are no dividends, and ownership can only be transferred to an immediate family member. Most importantly, there’s a 200,000 individual share limit to prevent any one person from becoming the majority owner.

In the basic theory of capitalism, the owner provides the capital (the buildings, machines, infrastructure, etc.) necessary for the workers to create the product. The revenue this product generates in turn compensates the workers for their labor and the owners for their investment.

But ultimately, it’s the fans, as the consumers, whose money funds everything.

Pro sports has the workers (the players) and the product (the games), but the industry has been fundamentally corrupted by its owners over the last generation. Rather than assuming the primary expense of ownership, stadium financing, they have pawned it off on the taxpayers.

The numbers are staggering: Over the last two decades, local municipalities have spent nearly $15 billion constructing or renovating stadiums for the NBA, NFL, and MLB. And despite owners’ claims to the contrary, there’s extensive research indicating that these stadiums do not boost economic growth.

Instead, because the leagues have been allowed to set up artificial caps on the number of franchises that can exist, owners have repeatedly used the threat of relocation to extort municipalities into paying for stadiums.

In 2008, after 41 years in Seattle, the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City. The primary reason given was because the city refused to pay for a new stadium after spending $600 million on the Mariners’ Safeco Field and the Seahawks’ Qwest Field.

In contrast, there’s no chance the Packers will ever leave Wisconsin, even though they are located in the NFL’s smallest market. When the Packers needed money to upgrade their stadium earlier this year, they didn’t hold local taxpayers hostage and force the city to choose between keeping their team and cutting public services, they simply sold 185,000 new shares at $250 each.

The city of Charlotte spent $260 million on the Bobcats’ new stadium. The entire franchise is only worth $281 million. The Bobcats are essentially a public trust that Michael Jordan is being allowed to operate for his own personal gain.

In their 2011 lockouts, both the NBA and NFL owners were willing to cancel games, and deny cities the very product they paid billions for, unless the players accepted a share of salaries so low that the owners would be guaranteed annual cost certainty.

In pro sports, like the law, workers generate the majority of the revenue. A law firm is nothing more than a collection of individual partners who control “books of business” of individual clients. Similarly, if the NBA’s 50 best players played in Europe, the league’s TV ratings, and its revenue, would plummet.

Law firm partners typically receive 80% of the income the firm generates. But after the lockouts, the NFL players now receive around 48.5% of the income generated while the NBA players receive around 51%. The owners have guaranteed themselves all the extra profit while shirking the risk.

As a result of this imbalance between public risk and private profit, the entire system of professional sport ownership in America has become little more than an elaborate slush fund for some of the country’s wealthiest individuals.

While European soccer clubs are punished by relegation into a lower league for sustained mediocrity, the pro sports monopolies in the U.S. ensure that even the most poorly-managed franchises are still immensely profitable. Donald Sterling, the notoriously cheap owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, purchased the club for $13 million in 1981. In 30 years under Sterling, the Clippers have had two winning seasons. They are now worth $305 million.

In theory, you can buy an NFL franchise in 2011, make a steady annual profit, and then sell it again a decade later when it might have doubled in value with almost zero risk. This is essentially what leveraged buyout mavens like Tom Hicks were trying to do when they began buying franchises on margins in the 1990’s. Hicks was so brazen, he bought soccer powerhouse Liverpool FC primarily through loans on the value of two smaller American franchises (the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars).

In contrast, the Packers’ profits are re-invested into the franchise and the city of Green Bay. 60% of their concession sales are guaranteed to local charities. They are owned by their fans, and the organization is run to better serve the interests of those fans and the local community, not a wealthy third-party.

Modern owners are essentially “rent-seekers” who add very little value to the franchises they run. The late George Steinbrenner, who became a recurring character on the TV show Seinfeld, was the most famous. In one episode, George Costanza tells the character of Steinbrenner that “in the past twenty years you have caused the city of New York and myself a good deal of distress as we have watched you take our beloved Yankees and reduce them to a laughingstock all for the glorification of your massive ego.”

The people of New York will end up paying $1.2 billion for the Yankees’ new stadium. At that price, they should be allowed to own their team in the same way that the people of Green Bay do.

The results speak for themselves. Even though the Packers are competing with franchises located in markets ten times their size, their fans do such a good job managing them that they are the favorites to win consecutive Super Bowl titles while still being one of 15 franchises that pay into the NFL’s reserve fund, rather than take money out of it.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/2...blic-ownership-of-organizations-is-economical
I went ahead and quoted the whole thing because I couldn't decide on specific sections to quote. Guess this should technically be in NFL but I think this has a pretty big part in all sports. Sorry if this should be posted elsewhere, I didn't see an active thread that this pertained to.


I never knew that's how the Packers were ran, and as I was reading thing it just blew my mind. I had never thought of professional leagues/owners in that way. Pretty Interesting read.
 

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There is really no contest. The only thing that comes close are some soccer clubs that are owned by club members, in Germany, for instance, the members have to control 50%+1 of the club by law.

EDITs:

I find it hilarious that law firms are cited as a good model because they are guilty of the same crimes as the NFL owners to even ever greater degree. 80% of the income goes to partners, but this writer equates the partners to the players which is moronic; a law firm isn't partners and staff, it's partners and ASSOCIATES who do more actual legal work and get absolutely robbed blind by the partners. The partners bill associate work out at huge rates and then give a tiny fraction of the revenue they generate back to the associates.

BTW, the one source of revenue that gets overlooked by outsiders is the voluntary "packers tax" on the Wisconsin Income Tax Return every year. Do you want to donate a few bucks to the Packers? Everyone except Dornado checks yes.
 

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Not Just Dumb, Aggie Dumb
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the 185,000 shares at 250 bucks each was hilarious. They sold 250$ sheets of paper that carries with it nothing but the right to say "i paid $250 on a piece of paper that says i own a share of the packers."
 

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Technically you get to go to the shareholders meeting at Lambeau and get an annual report or something. Even so, it's awesome to say you own the Packers and everyone knows that we're really just supporting the team. Hell, they didn't even maximize revenue because they caught me in a lean year and I'm dying to give the Packers $250 of my money for a piece of paper.
 

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"In 2008, after 41 years in Seattle, the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City. The primary reason given was because the city refused to pay for a new stadium after spending $600 million on the Mariners’ Safeco Field and the Seahawks’ Qwest Field."

"In 2008, after 41 years in Seattle, the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City. The primary reason given was because the city refused to pay for a new stadium after a decade of incompetent management. Included is the terrible drafting, and the ownership suggesting that the city raise taxes to put up with its consistently terrible product.

People spend way more than $250 for season tickets. It's a rich man's club where there may be a chance to network, doing so under your favorite team's banner. It's a great idea, but one that doesn't benefit the owner. No owner would want to let others own their franchise, so it's never gonna happen.
 

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The waiting list for Packers season tickets is 96,000. No one gives them up. I actually expect to inherit my dad's. The approximate wait time is 1,000 years if you put your name on now. People register their newborns.

And you might say "yeah well the Packers are always good."

From 1970 to 1991 the Packers had 5 seasons with a positive point differential and 2 winning seasons. This same shit was going on.
 

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do better
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Everybody's the model franchise when they're contending. I thought it was the Steelers...oh no I though it was the Patriots actually...
 

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Please, the Pats have been a joke their entire history until this past decade. This isn't just about the GM, which is usually what people mean when they use these words.
 
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