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Green Bay Packers finances are strong heading into “uncharted waters”

The Packers say they're in good condition financially in the long-term
The tourism economy stands to lose millions after Packers announce no fans for preseason activities.
The tourism economy stands to lose millions after Packers announce no fans for preseason activities.(WBAY)
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 3:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Packers organization says they’re in good shape to handle these “uncharted waters,” as their finances have not been impacted much by the pandemic during the off-season.

Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy released financial information Tuesday ahead of the annual shareholders meeting, which will be held online this year instead of inside Lambeau Field due to health and travel concerns.

The team called this the “bounce-back year” after a lot of money was spent on free agents. For the fiscal year that ended March 31, the team had $506.9 million in total revenue. Murphy said that’s the first time total revenue was over $500 million.

The team received $21.7 million more from national revenue, an increase of 7.9% over the previous year.

Local revenue was up $7.3 million from the year before, or 3.6%. That was helped by higher ticket prices and game day sponsorships. The team says rent from facilities in the Titletown district helped a little bit.

Expenses dropped significantly without a frenzy to sign free agents, and team expenses were also down. In all, the Packers saw expenses improve by $40.6 million, or 8.5%, from the previous fiscal year.

More information will be shared at the online shareholders meeting Thursday. Instructions to join that meeting were sent directly to shareholders.

Murphy said it’s hard to know yet how the coronavirus pandemic is going to affect the team heading into the season. The Packers and the NFL are watching developments of the pandemic closely.

“I hate to sound like Dr. Fauci, but we are going to let the pandemic decide for us. We will monitor locally as well as across the state. In terms of the number of fans, it’s going to be very reduced. Initial estimates will probably be around 10-12,000 seating capacity. So it is very, very reduced.”

It would certainly affect game day revenue if NFL teams don’t have fans in the stadiums, and there’s talk about canceling the preseason games. The Packers already closed off the Family Night scrimmage. Training camp and other matters and still being negotiated with the players association.

“These are difficult negotiations,” Murphy said. “I think when you are talking about the health and safety of our players and really everybody in the organization, they are complicated issues. It’s not just in the NFL. There were similar situations with Major League Baseball, basketball and hockey. We are working through those and hoping to have everything finalized as soon as possible.”

Asked about whether the NFL can have a successful season, Murphy added, “I think we can learn some from the Major League Baseball in terms of what they are trying to do.”

Murphy says the organization is in good condition financially in the long term, and the organization doesn’t anticipate having to dip into the corporate reserve fund.

The team plans to use some of the money to move forward with renovations to the concourse and improve wireless internet in the stadium. It also contributed more than $9 million to charitable causes and started a COVID-19 fund to help the community.

The Packers are also brainstorming with community leaders on ways to bring in more money, such as a drive-in movie night.

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