Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO, Mark Murphy. On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: MurphyTakes5@packers.com
Later this month, we'll convene our Annual Meeting of Shareholders at Lambeau Field with thousands of our newest shareholders attending their first gathering. In fact, as of this week, we expect more than 20,000 to be in attendance. With over 250,000 new shareholders, planning this year's meeting has been much more challenging than usual, especially as it relates to the attendance. After our last stock sale in 1997, we had a big spike up in the number of shareholders attending the meeting. We also know that more than half of our new shareholders are from Wisconsin and would be able to drive to the meeting. Given this uncertainty, we changed our guest policy to ensure that all shareholders could attend.
We will learn from this year's experience, and make the necessary changes in the future.
I'm looking forward to thanking them in person for their fantastic support of our offering this past year. They tremendously helped the Packers' financial future. They'll be able see firsthand what their support has enabled us to do with the stadium as the new structure continues to impress all of us at the Packers.
Just this week I took a walk around the stadium and had a great view from various locations. The new viewing platform in the north end zone will be very popular for special events. It provides a spectacular view of the field. The new gate will make it much easier for premium seating fans to get to their seats on game day.
We'll be excited for them to see the new HD video boards in action. They are a breathtaking addition to the Lambeau Field experience. The shareholder meeting will be the first time that the video boards will be viewed publicly.
Now, on to your questions:
A question from Andy
I'm a big Packers fan and as a recently promoted executive, who now has to deal with our business' owner, I've learned a lot from how NFL teams deal with owners. I realize the Packers are an exception to the NFL rule, but I'm still interested in how you view the roles and responsibilities of a team president, the GM and the head coach. Is there friction due to overlapping responsibilities? How is this different between Green Bay and other teams?
First, Andy, congratulations on your promotion. It will take some time for you to learn exactly how your business owner wants to be kept informed, but a good rule of thumb is to keep him or her from being surprised. In any organization, including NFL teams, it is important to have clearly defined roles. This, along with clear, open communication will help ensure that the organization is successful.
Xavier from Columbus
I've been a Packers fan all my life. Do you consider the Packers a small-market team even with all its history and great players?
I would say that we are a small-market team, but not a small-revenue team. In the NFL's most recent revenue rankings, we were ranked 13th. Since the 2003 renovation, we've been as high as ninth and have consistently stayed in the top half of all teams. Also, although we are the smallest market in the NFL (and all professional sports), we have a great national following, and consistently have very high TV ratings.
Heather from Lacey Township, N.J.
My grandfather and I are lifelong Packers fans (though we've never stepped foot in Wisconsin). We are flying out on Aug. 15, and flying back on Aug. 17 just so we can go to a game because my work schedule won't let me go during the regular season. My main question is: Why is there no training camp on the day before or after a game? We were really hoping to get to go.
Good question, Heather. The day before a game, there is a practice, but it is very light, often a walk-through, in order to ensure the players are fresh for the game. The day after a game is a day off for the players. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the players must have one day a week off from practice and meetings.
Alex from De Pere, WI
Could you describe a typical gameday for you at Lambeau Field on a Sunday? What is your routine in the morning in preparation for the game as President of the Packers?
I typically arrive at Lambeau Field about 3 to 4 hours before the game. I will often walk around the stadium and parking lot in order to see some of our employees throughout the stadium and to get a sense of the fans' gameday experience. Many games, I also will give a tour to groups, often from the visiting team. I always try to be on the field about an hour before kickoff. This is a good opportunity to talk to the visiting team's owner and other executives. I watch the game in a box with Ted Thompson and Russ Ball. After the game, I always stop by the locker room to talk to our coaches and players, and then go to the reception for the players and their families. I usually get home about 2 to 3 hours after the game. We typically have family or friends staying with us for the game, so it's a good chance to celebrate the win and catch up with them.
Eddie from St. Charles, IL
Did you grow up rooting for a certain NFL team? If it wasn't the Packers, can you explain the feelings of where your fandom is now? Do you still root for your childhood team even if you're in competition with them now?
Great question, Eddie. Yes, I grew up rooting for the Buffalo Bills. My parents had season tickets and I became a huge Bills fan. I vividly remember going to the first game ever played at Rich Stadium, against the Washington Redskins. When I played for the Redskins, I played three games at Rich Stadium, which were special thrills. I lived in the D.C. area through 1991, and I would follow the Bills, but it was hard to watch many of their games. In 1992, when we moved to central New York, I was able to reconnect with the Bills. I could watch all of their games and would go to one or two home games. I'm still a Bills fan, and pull for them to win every game unless we are playing them. A Bills-Packers Super Bowl would be a dream matchup for me.