In what continues to be one of the greatest marketing schemes in NFL history, the Green Bay Packers are set to offer 300,000 “stock shares” to fans on Tuesday morning. But as the franchise has explained the previous five times it’s created such a sale, the “stock” is essentially nothing more than a piece of team memorabilia. Or given its lack of utility, a paper version of cryptocurrency that can’t be spent anywhere.
Think of it as a printing press version of PackerCoin, BitGreen or LeapThereum. Fun to own, impossible to spend.
That’s what this “stock” is. For $300 a “share” (plus shipping and handling), fans get to show their devotion to the team and call themselves “shareholders” or “stockholders.” Or in the case of some who really want to stretch it, “owners” of the team. But the pieces of paper being sold come with minimal voting rights, no rights to profits, and no ability to transfer or sellBut the pieces of paper being sold come with no voting rights, no rights to profits, and no ability to transfer or sell — basically, everything that makes an actual share of stock in a company legitimate.
That won’t prevent the Green Bay faithful from scooping up all 300,000 “shares” on the team’s website, though, as previous “offerings” have been very popular with the fan base. The last such sale was in 2012, helping to finance a $143 million renovation to Lambeau Field.
But while the team likes to publicly push the term “stock” and call it an “offering,” in reality it’s more along the lines of a $90 million GoFundMe. And this particular round of solicited donations comes at an interesting financial peak for the franchise, following a 2020 reporting that saw Green Bay post a record $70 million in operating profits, as well as a record $507 million in total revenue.
That apparently isn’t enough to cover the Packers’ future plans, necessitating the raising of another $90 million from the fan base — and in plenty of time for the holiday gift-giving season.
So how will this work? First and foremost, the sale starts Tuesday and will last until February 25 but is also “subject to extension,” which appears to be a way of saying the team will sell the certificates as long as it takes to issue all 300,000.
As for the disclaimers, it’s a long list. From the team:
• Stock in the Packers does not constitute an investment in ‘stock’ in the common sense of the term.
• The Packers will have no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase Packers stock.
• Anyone considering the purchase of Packers stock should not purchase the stock to make a profit or to receive a dividend or tax deduction or any other economic benefits.
• Any offering of Packers stock will only be made through an offering document.
• The Packers believe offerees and purchasers of Packers stock will not receive the protection of securities laws with respect to any offering or sale of Packers stock.
• The Packers bylaws and NFL rules severely restrict transfers of Packers stock.
Translation: We’re going to call it stock but it’s not actually stock and you shouldn’t expect it to be considered anything like stock.
Of course, people are always free to spend their hard-earned cash how they see fit. And this is no different than buying a foam cheesehead or jersey. It’s a piece of merchandise that shows how devoted someone is willing to be to the team.
And if it makes the buyer happy, that’s the type of investment it really is — into the kind of happiness you can frame and hang in your den for the rest of the world to see.