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Packers' financial picture remains strong

Posted Jul 12, 2017

Revenues and investments in community continue to rise


GREEN BAY – The Packers’ most recent financial report looks very similar to the previous year’s, except for one thing.

Net income rose roughly $24 million – from $49 million to $73 million – due to Green Bay’s share of franchise relocation fees, which are on the financial statements this year even though the money will be received in installments over the next decade.

The relocation of the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles, and the Raiders to Las Vegas, adds $27 million to the Packers’ bottom line this year despite the money not actually existing yet.

“It’s unique having all three hit the same year,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said. “It’s standard accounting practice but it dramatically changes our numbers.”

Without the additional $27 million, the Packers’ net income actually would have fallen slightly, from $49 million last year to $46 million this year.

Profit from operations, while still healthy at $65 million, dropped nearly $10 million from the prior year. This was largely the result of two main factors.

Player costs rose significantly, Murphy said, due to the annual increase in the salary cap combined with a few large contract signings, which were expected and part of the cyclical nature of the business. Also, depreciation of some of the organization’s most recent stadium improvements hit the income statement as well.

Those two elements accounted for the bulk of the $42 million increase in expenses, from $334 million to $376 million.

“The depreciation was pretty significant with a full year for the 1919 restaurant, Hall of Fame, and west-side suite renovations,” Murphy said.

That said, revenue increases nearly kept pace, going from $409 million to $441 million. The Packers have increased revenue annually dating back more than a decade now.

Last year’s revenue topped $400 million for the first time, and the Packers ranked in the NFL’s second quartile in the category. This year’s ranking will be known sometime this fall.

It remains an impressive achievement that the team in by far the league’s smallest market can maintain its standing in the second quartile in revenue generation.

“It says a lot about our international reputation and tremendous fan support,” Murphy said.

National revenue rose $21 million and local went up $11 million.

The national boost was due to built-in increases in the long-term television contracts, plus the success of NFL Network and the growth of the Thursday Night Football package.

Local revenue got a boost from the Lambeau Field College Classic between Wisconsin and LSU, plus increased game-day revenue, digital revenue among the top teams in the league, and another strong year for sponsorships.

“The Wisconsin-LSU game was good for us as well as good for the community,” Murphy said. “We heard a lot of great things.”

Plans are in the works to bring another marquee college matchup to Lambeau Field in the coming years, while the Packers’ largest ongoing investment in the community continues to take shape just west of the stadium in the Titletown district.

All three of Titletown’s anchors – Lodge Kohler, Hinterland Restaurant and Brewery, and Bellin Health Titletown Sports Medicine & Orthopedics – have opened or are opening this year, while construction continues on the public plaza that includes a sledding hill and ice-skating path for winter enthusiasts.

Mark McMullen, the Packers’ executive committee treasurer, said the organization’s investment in Titletown includes $65 million in pre-development costs. Additional investments will be ongoing.

“We’ve been incurring costs, and as the nearly 45 acres open, that’s when it will realize its full revenue potential,” McMullen said. “We see Titletown as a responsible investment – we’re providing an asset to the community and diversifying the organization’s assets as well.”

In the process, the Packers grew their total charitable impact to more than $8 million this past year, pushed the endowment for the Packers Foundation over $30 million, and continued to build the corporate reserve fund. The combination of a $50 million contribution plus investment income raised the reserve fund from $275 million to $349 million.

 
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