The Packers reported a record net profit of operations of $27.9 million, team President and CEO Mark Murphy told a small gathering of reporters on Tuesday, two weeks ahead of the shareholders meeting.
The Packers set records with local revenue of $130.4 million, total revenue of $302 million, profit from operations of $43 million and net income of $42.7 million. The bottom line, after taxes, is a net profit that increased a stunning $20.1 million.
"It was a very good year for the Packers on the field – though, obviously, the season didn't end the way we wanted – but also it was a very good year for the Packers from a financial standpoint," Murphy said.
The team's total revenue went from $258 million in 2010 to $282.6 million in 2011, moving the club from 13th place to 10th during the previous year. Murphy said he doesn't know where the team stands for 2012, other than saying it "may" move further up the ledger.
While national revenue increased from $163.3 million to $171.6 million, local revenue increased from $119.3 million to $130.4 million. That was due in large part to strong sales at the Packers Pro Shop, both in the stadium and online.
"We've really made an emphasis to increase sales in our pro shop, particularly online," Murphy said. "The results have really been positive. A big focus for us over the last year or two has been driving more and more people to our Web site and having people go from the Web site to the Pro Shop site."
Meanwhile, total expenses dropped from $270.5 million to $259 million, with player expenses dipping about $3.5 million from last year's $158.9 million and even further from 2010's $160.8 million. Expenses were down across the board, Murphy said, as the team tightened its belts while planning for the worst with last year's lockout.
The recent stock sale, which netted $64 million to the team's coffers, did not impact the financial statement, since all of that money is being poured directly into the team's $143 million renovation of Lambeau Field.
Some other notes:
-- The Packers Preservation Fund remains unchanged at $127.5 million. The team hasn't added to that rainy-day fund in the last five years. With a 10-year collective bargaining agreement in place, is that fund as important as it once was?
"That's a good question," Murphy said. "I think it's still important to save for the future, especially given our ownership structure. We don't have a wealthy owner with separate assets to go to. The preservation funds beyond that are really important to us. Over the last five years or so, we purchased quite a bit of real estate in the area. I look at that in some ways as a way to preserve the franchise. We're putting money into real estate, which pretty soon we're going to use."
-- One of those uses will be construction of a Cabela's outdoors store. Ground-breaking is next week, with the store set to open in July 2013.
-- Local revenues also were spurred by record numbers of tourists. Last year, 156,000 people took a Packers Hall of Fame Tour and 130,000 fans took a stadium tour. Typically, those numbers are around 90,000.
-- As part of the CBA, a portion of league revenue is set aside to help teams with building projects. The Packers have applied, with Murphy expecting an answer in the fall.
"There's a distinction between new stadiums and renovations," he said. "I think we were the first renovation so we're kind of a test case."
-- The shareholders meeting will be held July 26, with 24,000 "owners" having asked for tickets.
"The timing was really positive in a sense that we were coming off a Super Bowl and having a great regular season and right before the holidays," Murphy said of a stock sale that added about 268,000 people to the ownership list. "To me, that was a great reflection of how excited our fans are about the team and the organization. From my position, I'm just so pleased the way that our fans responded to the stock sale."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.