“Built in 1957 and named after the team’s founder, Curly Lambeau, the [Packers’] stadium seats 73,128 people, which is about 75% of the population of the entire city…”
Much of the below quoted from “Maybe we don’t need owners at all,” in The New Yorker. A short, worthwhile read.
1. “N.F.L. teams have received $6 billion in public funds to build the current crop of stadiums.” That’s just the latest round. “In other words, the public is already shouldering a great deal of the cost and debt for N.F.L. franchises. But these public dollars, through some sort of magic alchemy, morph into private profits that often flow away from the communities that ponied up the dough. In the United States, we socialize the debt of sports and privatize the profits.”
2. The Green Bay Packers have one hundred and twelve thousand owners.
3. “The Packers are owned by the fans, making them the only publicly owned, not-for-profit, major professional team in the United States.” Time: “Season tickets have been sold out since 1960. The current wait time for season tickets? An estimated 40 years.”
4. They’re in the Super Bowl, this year, and have a long and proud tradition—so this non-profit thing has turned out to be for-benefit, in the Win column.
5. “Those holding Packers stock are limited to no more than two hundred thousand shares, keeping any individual from gaining control over the club. Shareholders receive no dividend check and no free tickets to Lambeau Field. They don’t even get a foam cheesehead.”
6. Another way this structure helps equal wins: “football decisions are made by General Manager Ted Thompson,” who doesn’t have to report to an impatient, money-focused owner. He can make long-term decisions that are unpopular with impunity.
7. “Wisconsin fans get to enjoy the team with the confidence that their owner won’t threaten to move to Los Angeles unless the team gets a new mega-dome.”
8. Most impressive of all, “Volunteers work concessions, with sixty per cent of the proceeds going to local charities.”
9. Second-most-impressive: “Even the beer is cheaper than at a typical N.F.L. stadium.”
10. In summation: “Not only has home field been sold out for two decades, but during snowstorms, the team routinely puts out calls for volunteers to help shovel and is never disappointed by the response. It doesn’t matter how beloved the Cowboys are in Dallas; if Jerry Jones ever put out a call for free labor, he’d be laughed out of town.” Read the conclusion here.