Packers' profit rises to $22 million

Decreased expenses help the Packers add $10 million to their reserve fund.

When the Green Bay Packers' cheesehead-wearing shareholders convene July 25 at Lambeau Field, they'll hear a financial picture that's laden with green and gold.

The team posted a profit of $22 million last fiscal year — an increase of $4 million — according to data released by the team and reported by several Wisconsin media outlets.

"The Packers are in very good shape financially," treasurer Larry Weyers told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

So good of shape that the Packers likely will have to shell out between $3 million and $4 million as part of the NFL's revenue-sharing plan. The league's top revenue generators have to share some of their bounty, and Green Bay figures to rank somewhere in the second quartile in the 32-team league. They ranked seventh last year after three consecutive seasons at No. 10.

The Packers reported revenue of $218 million — an increase of 4.6 percent from $208.4 million — in the fiscal year that ended March 31.

Because of the windfall, the team continued its longstanding goal of saving enough money to have a year's worth of funds in reserve. The Packers added $10 million to their franchise preservation fund, upping the balance to $125.5 million.

That war chest will be critical in future years, with new stadiums opening soon in Indianapolis (2008), Dallas (2009) and New York for the Jets and Giants (2010).

"It was a status quo year," Weyers told the Associated Press. "The biggest pressure threat right now is the new stadiums coming on line, which is going to drive us down on revenue rank further. ... In order to maintain parity with the rest of the league, we have to continue to increase the reserves so we have the resources to meet these challenges. We don't have a rich owner."

Along with the increase in revenue, another reason for the improved profit was a decrease in on-the-field costs. While player salaries and bonuses increased almost $8 million to $110.7 million, other football expenses fell from $33.7 million to $17.7 million.

"Two primary drivers there," Weyers told the AP. "Last year, we had to make some changes on the coaching staff (the firing of Mike Sherman and his assistants), which cost the Packers some money. And we also had the opportunity to prepay some potential pension liabilities, which we did."

Overall, operating expenses dipped from $187.4 million to $183.8 million. Of that, $128.4 million went toward the players, coaches, scouts, front-office personnel and other expenses like travel and equipment.

The financial picture improved because of a big increase in national revenue — a hike of almost $10 million to $124.9 million due mostly to contracts with DirecTV and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Without a home playoff game or a University of Wisconsin hockey game to inject more money into the team, local revenue was steady at about $93 million. Local revenue had risen steadily since the renovation of Lambeau Field was completed in time for the 2003 football season. Local revenue is critical, since much of that money isn't shared with the rest of the teams.

Packers Pro Shop revenue dipped $1.8 million after a record $17.5 million in sales the year before. Revenue from the Lambeau Field Atrium (up $200,000 to $4.9 million) and home games (up $500,000 to $29 million) improved slightly.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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