The Green Bay Packers announced this week that their latest stock offering, the fifth in franchise history, had raised $67 million to help refurbish Lambeau Field, including the addition of 6700 seats.
The Packers are owned by the fans, not a wealthy owner operating with a profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) philosophy. The franchise is a publicly-owned non-profit with a unique stock ownership structure.
The Packers issued stock to the public in 1923 in order to stay afloat as a franchise. Ownership pays no dividends and doesn’t provide any other perks (most notably, there aren’t any game ticket privileges). Most shareholders live in the Green Bay area, or at least the state of Wisconsin, although there are no residency requirements (due to the Packers’ current status as a “national” team, about 50% of the shareholders from this latest offering live outside Wisconsin, including about 2000 shares purchased by people in Canada) . Nevertheless, all profits are invested back into the team. Green Bay’s bylaws state that the Packers are “a community project, intended to promote community welfare.” What a refreshing approach. The chances the Packers will pack up and leave Green Bay are slim and none.
“It makes them an example,” according to ESPN’s Patrick Hruby. “A case study. A working model for a better way to organize and administer pro sports.”
The NFL, NBA, and MLB have either formally or informally banned ownership structures comparable to the Packers’. That’s clearly an “anti-fan” policy.
As League of Fans founder Ralph Nader has said, “The fundamental problem in pro sports is that we’ve given free reign to owners through a self-regulated monopoly system — including anti-trust exemptions — which allows owners to pursue a profit-at-all-costs agenda at the expense of fans. This system has resulted in owners playing one city off another in the quest for new taxpayer-funded stadiums and other freeloading. A community ownership model, like the Green Bay Packers’, works. It’s a better way to structure and administer professional sports. It should become an optional mainstay of sports policy in this country.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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