Packers once again post franchise-best profits

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Business is flourishing inside the Lambeau Field offices as the Green Bay Packers have completed yet another record-setting financial year.
As the NFL’s only publicly-owned team, the Packers disclosed their successful business operations from 2012 with new highs in multiple categories. The 94-year-old franchise reported $54.3 million in profit from operations and a net income of $43.1 million, surpassing all previous bests.
The growth in profit from operations rose significantly from $43.0 million last year, representing a 26.4 percent change. However, the net income change was only a one percent increase.
“Another strong year, a good year on the field and the tremendous support of our fans have led us to record highs in terms of total revenue,” team president and CEO Mark Murphy said Tuesday.
The Packers’ national revenue went up to $179.9 million (a 4.9 percent change), but local revenue dropped to $128.2 million (a 1.7 percent decrease).
Total expenses fell by $5.2 million, but Murphy attributed that to a decrease in player cost of $19 million. In fiscal 2012, player cost was $135 million after reporting $154 million a year earlier.
Don’t be confused, though. While Green Bay re-signed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the richest contract in NFL history with a five-year, $110 million extension and re-signed outside linebacker Clay Matthews to a five-year, $66 million extension this offseason, both deals aren’t included in the fiscal 2012’s statement of income.
“It’s really a timing issue,” Murphy said. “If those (Rodgers and Matthews contracts) had fallen in our fiscal year, our expenses would have been different. But they’re going to be in the next fiscal year.”
The signing bonuses that Rodgers and Matthews received are prorated over the number of years in their new contracts. In the case of Rodgers, who had a $35 million signing bonus, it will be spread out evenly between now and when it expires in 2020.
Despite the record profits, the Packers raised ticket prices again this year. Now, the cost to attend a game at Lambeau Field ranges between $74-$97. The new average price is still less expensive than the rest of Green Bay’s division rivals.
“It’s something we’re aware of, but we’re trying to balance,” Murphy said when asked why ticket prices increased again. “The balance is you want to be affordable, you want to be fair to your fans, but you also want to be fair to the other teams in terms of the revenue sharing.
“We try to provide value. Our ticket prices have gone up, but for the average fan, two years ago you had a brand-new sound system and last year you got two brand-new HD video boards. So you’re seeing improvements and hopefully the fans look at it and say they’re still getting good value.”
Lambeau Field will also be bigger than ever, officially opening several new sections of seating in the south end zone this upcoming season. The new capacity is 80,750, the third-largest in the NFL behind only New York and Washington.
The 7,000-plus new seats will bring in an additional $8 million in tickets and concessions, as well as $2 million in marketing and sponsorships. But there also will be offsetting expenses that go along with that.
“We’re all really pleased with the way the south end zone is coming along,” Murphy said. “I’m really excited for our fans to see it. I think what we’ve done, and the challenge was doing it in a way where it didn’t take away from what made Lambeau special; the history, tradition. I think we’ve been able to do it.
“The experience coming to the stadium, the whole thing, we need to continue to make sure it’s unique. You want them to come to the stadium to get things they can’t get at home; interaction with other fans. One of the big things is fans want to be connected.”
The Packers are working on adding stadium wifi, as well as making cell phone reception better. The challenge is that the structure of Lambeau Field and the open bowl doesn’t make it as easy as most NFL stadiums.
The playoff game that Green Bay hosted during the 2012 season — a wild-card round victory over the Minnesota Vikings — brought in $12 million.
There was a dropoff in the number of Lambeau Field stadium tours and Packers Hall of Fame tours, with 135,000 people partaking in each. That is still more than it used to be before the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, but it’s down from the 156,000 people who visited the Packers Hall of Fame during fiscal 2011.
Next week, Murphy will address Packers shareholders at the annual meeting to discuss these numbers.

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