The Packers rode the wave of a Super Bowl title and subsequent 15-1 season to post record profits in their most recent fiscal year, and those profits are helping to pay for the ongoing Lambeau Field expansion project.
The team’s operating profit more than tripled, from $12 million last year to a record $43 million this year, according to the organization’s annual financial report. The Packers topped $300 million in total revenue for the first time, and the record profit was the result of revenue jumping $19 million while expenses fell $12 million compared to the previous year.
“We’re investing it in the stadium and improving the gameday experience for our fans,” said President/CEO Mark Murphy, referring to the $143-million expansion that is adding two HD video boards and a new north-side gate and viewing platform for the 2012 season, plus 6,700 new seats in the south end zone for 2013. “It also allows us to ensure that the franchise is preserved for the future.”
The team’s net income rose from $17.1 million last year to $42.7 million this year. Team officials who discussed the financial report with packers.com said the operating profit and net income are similar this year because the team’s tax liability and investment income coincidentally offset.
The $19 million increase in revenue was a combination of $8 million in additional national revenue and $11 million in local revenue. Most of the national boost came from increased television dollars.
Part of the local revenue increase came from raising ticket prices, but a greater portion resulted from record Pro Shop sales and record visitation in the form of Hall of Fame and stadium tours.
“We’ve had strong momentum,” said Mark J. McMullen, treasurer and member of the team’s executive committee, referring to the team following up its Super Bowl title with a 15-1 season. “With the Pro Shop, there’s still a spillover effect from the Super Bowl, which we expect to tail off, but the sales have been strong and the margin has been improved in terms of expense management.”
Expenses for the organization as a whole also dropped during the four-month work stoppage last year while the new collective bargaining agreement was being negotiated. The players had no offseason workouts or minicamps. Revenue wasn’t noticeably affected by the work stoppage because no games were missed.
“We resolved the labor situation just in the nick of time,” said Paul Baniel, vice president of finance. “If we would have lost games, that would have had a huge impact on revenue.”
Baniel added that the stability provided by the new 10-year CBA aided sponsorship deals and other marketing-related revenue, because long-term contracts that weren’t feasible during the labor uncertainty became more attractive to the team’s business partners.
In addition, the team did not incur the expense of four road postseason games, as it had the year before, but instead had one home playoff contest. That improved the bottom line, but it was a bittersweet gain, to be sure.
“It was a different playoff season,” Baniel said. “We get concession revenue, marketing revenue and other things for home games that we don’t get for road games.
“But we are about championships first. We would all trade last season for the year before as far as the playoffs go.”
Team officials also noted the organization tripled its annual contribution to the Packers Foundation, from $1 million to $3 million, and the franchise’s overall charitable impact grew from roughly $4 million to $6 million over the past year.
Murphy indicated the team’s profits will help pay down the debt on the current stadium expansion faster. The same was said when the franchise netted $64 million through the stock sale that concluded last winter.
The Packers also continue to invest in land around the stadium with an eye toward future development. A groundbreaking is expected this month on a Cabela’s retail store for outdoor enthusiasts, the first piece of the Titletown development district, which is expected to open next summer.
“Next year we will finish this first phase, which is the expansion and renovation of Lambeau, focused on the gameday experience,” Murphy said. “We’re also planning and looking toward future development focused on the non-gameday experience.”