GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers' financial picture has returned to its pre-pandemic form.
The team reported a $77.7 million operating profit on Friday for the most recent fiscal year, a sharp turnaround from the $38.8 million loss in the pandemic season of 2020, and more in line with the pre-pandemic profit of $70.3 million following the 2019 season.
The biggest shift in the numbers came on the local revenue side, with an increase of $170 million ($61.9 million to $231.7 million) as fans came back to games in 2021 after a largely fan-less 2020 season, and the Pro Shop had its best year ever.
Local revenue pre-pandemic was at $210.9 million, so without the anomaly from last year, that figure has increased roughly 10% from two years ago, consistent with the organization's trend of the previous decade. It also matches the 10% increase in the operating profit from two years ago.
"That was the real story there was the return to normalcy and the return of the fans," President/CEO Mark Murphy said. "By and large we have moved beyond any financial effects from the pandemic."
The Packers also saw a significant boost in its national revenue, which is its share from the league and primarily encompasses the network television contracts. National revenue rose from $309.2 million to $347.3 million, in part due to a 17th regular-season game league-wide, an extra wild-card playoff game broadcast in primetime, and a stronger year for league sponsorships coming off the pandemic.
The team's expenses also rose considerably, going from $409.9 million last year to $501.3 million. The prior year, expenses were down with the drop in the players' salary cap, but as the cap returned to a more traditional level and the Packers reworked several player contracts to continue navigating the unusual circumstances, this year's expenses climbed.
"There have been some unique challenges with the salary cap, and we've had to do some things financially we normally haven't done due to the changes," Murphy said. "We have young players on the rise and veterans we want to keep around who are vital. That's been the cost of keeping a good team together."
The team reported a net income of $61.6 million, which is a reflection of the operating profit plus or minus investment performance and tax liabilities. That's slightly higher than last year's $60.7 million, when the operating loss was more than offset by robust investment gains.
The recently concluded stock sale, which added around 177,000 shareholders and raised $64.7 million, is not included in any of the revenue-expense figures being reported. The proceeds from the stock sale are going directly into stadium improvements, with Lambeau Field slated to get new video boards substantially larger than its current ones, and with major concourse renovations ongoing. In the past decade, the team has invested about $467 million in the stadium, and when the renovation of the team facility and new video boards are completed in 2023, that number will rise above $600 million.
The concourse upgrades that will be completed in time for this coming season include multiple large-scale grab-n-go concession stands, plus a beverage-only, in-house sports bar named "Miller Lite Endzone Bar," which resides just outside section 100 in the lower concourse and can accommodate nearly 400 people.
The Titletown development across the street from Lambeau also continues to be a positive piece of the team's financial picture. The real estate projects are moving along well, with the townhomes, apartments and office spaces filling up, while steady activity in the public plaza shows it's become a strong community asset.
"We've always looked at Titletown a little differently, as more of an investment in the community," Murphy said. "The real estate has been a success, and we're really pleased with the amount of engagement in our programming in the plaza. We're happy to make that investment and provide those opportunities for the community."