The Green Bay Packers recorded a record-breaking profit of $75.0 million during the 2016 fiscal-year, a breath-taking number that is $10 million more than the team’s combined profit from the 2014 and 2015 fiscal-years combined.
“Obviously, the continued success – the consistent success – has been helpful for us, as well as the popularity of not only the Packers but the league over the long period of time has been very helpful to us,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said from the Lombardi Board Room in the area at Lambeau Field formerly occupied by Curly’s Pub.
The profit dwarfed by more than $20 million the former record of $54.3 million in fiscal-year 2013.
More revenue is on the way to ensure the Packers maintain – if not build upon – their financial outlook. The Titletown District, a 34-acre project located directly west of Lambeau Field, is under construction. It will be anchored by the Lodge Kohler hotel, Hinterland Brewery and a Bellin Health sports medicine facility that Murphy touted as a “regional hub” for orthopedics led by the Packers’ team physician, Pat McKenzie. Those three building blocks are scheduled to open next summer. More businesses have yet to be announced in Phase 1 of Titletown, with Phase 2 in the planning stages, to further supplement the team’s burgeoning bottom line.
Beyond additional revenue streams, the team is quick to point to the community benefits, such as a 10-acre public plaza that will include a skating rink, a full-sized football field and community events. Still, make no mistake about the major purpose of the development.
“We’re very optimistic,” Murphy said. “Obviously, we have to do a good job with it and the economy has to be strong, but we’re a community-owned team so having something that is so beneficial to the community will be helpful. In terms of benefit to the Packers, one of our goals -- and it’s kind of a unique one -- is to make sure the team stays in Green Bay. I think Titletown will help ensure that the economic base in Green Bay stays strong enough into the future that we can continue to field a competitive NFL team. And it also provides diversified revenue that I think over the long term will be very helpful to the organization so that it’s not all necessarily just focused on football and the success of the football team.”
The success of the football team, in particular, and the NFL, in general, are the reasons behind the Packers’ gaudy financial report, which included a $31.5 million increase in revenue. As he did last year, Murphy pointed to the success of the collective bargaining agreement, a 10-year contract with the players agreed upon in July 2011. The labor certainty allowed the NFL to enter into lucrative television contracts and the league and teams to sign long-term sponsorship deals. The harmony with the union also allowed teams to reinvest in their stadiums. The Packers, for example, focused on improving the “game experience,” and they expanded their Pro Shop and created a new restaurant as a way to turn the stadium into a year-round ATM. A record 175,000 people, for instance, took a stadium tour last fiscal-year.
“It’s something that we had really hoped to see,” Murphy said. “A lot of it is we’ve invested in the stadiums across the league. Kevin Mawae, who was the president of the Players Association during the negotiations, recently said it pretty well. He said this is what we envisioned with the bargaining process, that we’d invest in these new stadiums, renovations with like what we’ve done with Lambeau, and we’re starting to see the results of that investment. From a players’ perspective, I think three years in a row now where we’ve had more than $10 million in growth in the salary cap. We’re seeing the benefits both to management as well as the players.”
For the third consecutive year, the smallest-of-the-small-market Packers ranked ninth in the league in revenue. Though, as Murphy cautioned, “if our revenues were 1 percent lower, we would have been 13th. It’s a very tight number of teams right there.”
That’s why the Titletown District is such a big deal for the long-term stability of the franchise.
“We’ve made big investments in recent years – almost $370 million in the stadium and atrium, with the real focus there on the fan experience,” Murphy said. “Not only on game day but non-game day and having a place where fans can engage with the Packers throughout the entire year. To me, one of our values is stewardship, and continuing to invest in the stadium and atrium is not only good for the present with some of the growth we’ve seen with our atrium businesses but also to make sure that the stadium continues to serve its purpose for the organization in the long run.”
|Profit from operations||$75.0||$39.4||+$35.7||+90.6%||$25.6|
Note: Fiscal-year 2016 went from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016. All monetary figures are in millions.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.