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Packers report another year of record revenue
The Green Bay Packers reported record annual revenue of $441 million for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2017. Wochit
GREEN BAY – Another year, another report of record revenue for the Green Bay Packers.
The NFL's smallest-market team said Wednesday that revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31 totaled $441.4 million, 8 percent more than 2015-16's record $408.7 million. The team's revenue has increased in every year since Lambeau Field was renovated in 2003.
An increase in national television revenue, tickets price increases, sponsorships and Packers Pro Shop sales drove revenue higher.
"It's similar to the last few years, but that's a good thing," said Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. "Eight straight years in the playoffs and the fan support we have is crucial to our success."
The Packers are the only fan-owned team in the NFL and the only one to publicly report its finances. The report is the best public information available on the financial status of an NFL team.
The Packers have 363,948 shareholders. Shares are not traded and rarely sold. The last sale was in 2012 to help pay for south end zone expansion. No new sale is contemplated.
The team reported profit from operations of $65.4 million, a 9.7 percent decrease from a record $75 million the year before. Murphy said the decrease was the result of a cyclical increase in player expenses and depreciation related to more than $450 million in investments in Lambeau Field and the Titletown District.
Net income was higher, at $72.8 million, because the Packers had to account for $27.1 million as its share of relocation fees that will be paid by the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders. The team will not get the money for two and a half more years and then it will be parceled out over 10 years, but accounting rules require it to claim the income now.
Total revenue, rather than net income, is the more significant number in Packers finances because profit isn't paid out as dividends and doesn't affect stock price. All money, whether profit or not, goes back into the team or community. Net income does show, however, how well the team is keeping expenses under control.
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The Packers reported national revenue of $244 million, a 9.6 percent increase over the previous year. Most of that is from the NFL's national TV contracts, which are shared equally among the 32 teams. National revenue also includes road-game revenue sharing and other income, such as from NFL media operations. Television revenue increases about 5 percent a year under the TV contracts, which continue through the final three years of the current collective bargaining agreement.
Local revenue totaled $197.4 million, a 6.1 percent increase. It includes game-day revenue, local broadcast fees, sponsorships, and atrium-business revenue, including the Packers Pro Shop, which contributes tens of millions of dollars, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and atrium rentals. The Packers do not break down individual results.
"The Lambeau Field Atrium renovation continues to serve us well," Murphy said. "We continue our efforts to grow revenues and diversify our revenue streams. We don't want all our revenue to come from the backs of ticketholders."
That said, Murphy admitted that ticket prices will continue to increase as more new NFL stadiums come on line. Minnesota opened a new stadium last year and Atlanta will open one this year, with new Los Angeles and Las Vegas stadiums on the horizon. Each new stadium results in higher ticket prices, raising the league average. The Packers have said they want to be near the league average.
New stadiums also will make it more difficult for the Packers to maintain their income ranking among NFL teams. The Packers were ninth in the league four years running, which is their preferred position. Paul Baniel, vice president of finance and administration, said it's likely Minnesota will move past the Packers this year because of the new U.S. Bank Stadium.
"We are diversifying our revenue so not all our revenue is dependent on football," Murphy said.
Total expenses for the year were $376.1 million, a 12.7 percent increase, again, due in part to increased player costs, which tend to rise and fall based on player contracts.
The Packers in the past decade spent $367 million on Lambeau Field upgrades and expansion, $65 million to-date on the Titletown District, and $23 million on the soon-to-opened Johnsonville Tailgate Village.
"What do you do with this kind of profit? We are investing it in the stadium, investing in the team," Murphy said.
Murphy said one goal of the Titletown District is to draw more people to Brown County and keep them here longer. The district includes Hinterland Brewing Co., the soon-to-open Lodge Kohler hotel and Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine and Orthopedics clinic, and up to 10 acres of public park and plaza.
"People are coming here to see Lambeau Field," he said. "What I'd like to see is instead of spending a day here, spend two or three days."
For the third consecutive year, the team added $5 million to the Packers Foundation endowment fund, bringing it to $30 million. The foundation made $1.3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and projects last year, and the team estimated its total charitable impact was more than $8 million.
The team also contributed $50 million to its reserve fund, its first contribution in several years. The contribution and improvement in investment income increased the reserve — the team's savings — to $349 million, compared to $275 million last year.