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Sale of Packers Stock Turns Paper Into An Amazing Business

Tuesday, 6 Dec 2011 | 3:50 PM ET

The Green Bay Packers are literally printing cash.

The thus far undefeated and reigning Super Bowl champions are selling stock for the fifth time in their history today.

The shares are said to have an actual value of about 3 cents, but the Packers are selling them for $250 each.

It offers almost no benefits other than a place at the annual meeting and a piece of paper proving that you're an owner. The shares haven't been approved by the SEC, don't appreciate and won't move you up the season ticket waiting list.

So why do the Packers do this?

Well, because they are remarkably good at selling almost nothing for a lot of money.

The last time the Packers did this, in 1997, they raised $24 million. This time, the goal is $20 million. While the goal is to peddle 80,000 shares, they are allowed to sell up to 880,000 shares. If they sold all of those, that would be $220 million.

"It's an interesting kind of hang-in-your-office piece of paper," said Drew Brooks, a displaced Packers fan who went to see the team play against the Giants In New Jersey on Sunday. "It has no real value, but the coolness is there. At the same time, it's kind of hard to swallow the idea of a $250 piece of paper."

Not to worry. There were plenty of factors lining up on Tuesday morning when the shares went on sale. The Website, was running slow for the first hour it was up, but 1,600 shares were sold in the first 11 minutes. And relative to inflation, the price of the shares have actually gone down since the team's last sale in 1997. An inflation adjusted $200 price in 1997 is $282 today. That's a good thing because it's $250 per share, but $25 processing fee is not included.

"If you've ever been to Lambeau Field, you know that feeling of being part of that community and I think if you own stock you would feel even closer to that community," said Packers fan Sterling Berry.

Ainslin Ronaghan, who was sporting a cheesehead bra to the game, said she was buying a share of Packers stock for her father for Christmas.

"It's nostalgia," Ronaghan said. "And can you think of a better Christmas present than to own an NFL team? I like to think I'll own a piece of (Packers linebacker) Clay Matthews. Even if it's a strand of hair."

Packers fans better read the fine print, which says: "If the Commissioner of the NFL decides that a shareholder of an NFL member club has been guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the NFL then, among other things, the Commissioner has the authority to fine such sharehold in an amount not in excess of $500,000."

The terms also say that if it is found that a shareholder has bet on an NFL game, Roger Goodell could fine them as much as $5,000 and force them to sell his or her stock.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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