In today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog, allow me to suggest that the Green Bay Packers’ financial books were not the only thing opened yesterday.
The mouths of countless football fans were also opened extremely wide after the Pack announced its impressive revenues from the past NFL season.
As the only publicly owned NFL franchise, the Green Bay Packers revealed an eye-popping, jaw dropping $376 million in total revenues to its 360,760 shareholders.
The organization’s locally owned franchise haul amounted to $149.3 million.
Plus, another bounteous $226.4 million in income poured in from nationally shared revenue derived from the NFL’s lucrative television contracts.
The league’s massive $7.2 billion distribution to its 32 franchise members has more than doubled in the past five years when its television revenue amounted to approximately $3 billion at the time.
But, the positive financial gains stand in stark contrast to the league’s negative public perception losses it has endured of late.
With the well publicized Ray Rice elevator incident, surging domestic violence cases involving several players and an ugly concussion history with seemingly no resolution in sight, the NFL has seen its reputation wane while the league’s naysayers have grown.
However, my two cents is that these apparent detriments have not slowed the money making machine known as the NFL from rolling in the dough. And, the gravy train is extremely evident in Wisconsin.
The Packers’ loyal Cheesehead fans have witnessed the club re-investing in the team, the stadium and in the community immediately adjacent to the team’s home stadium – Lambeau Field.
The franchise inked All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers to a five-year $110 million deal and signed several free agents – notably WR Randall Cobb, CB Davon House, NT B.J. Ragi and CB Tramon Williams – this off-season to solid contracts.
Plus, the club both improved and expanded by 7,000 seats its iconic home field. Also, with its increased team income, Green Bay acquired 65 acres of property adjacent to Lambeau Field and plans to develop it into a Titletown themed sports and entertainment complex.
It’s good to see that Green Bay’s Cheeseheads are smiling as their hometown franchise wisely invests to reward its fans with a better product and a more inviting game day experience.
However, in my opinion that’s still not enough. More prudent community projects and initiatives that create jobs and improve education on societal ills like domestic violence need to play an increased role in how fat NFL franchises spend their revenue share.
Here’s hoping that other NFL franchises open their wallets wide like the Pack and re-invest annual sharing windfalls locally, too.
May NFL owners give back to their communities with the same level of generosity that they have reaped from league television contracts.
Then, our nation’s most successful professional sports league will witness its lost luster on a much quicker path to being restored.
And, that’s my two cents.
MIKE on sports!