With the Packers adding more than 250,000 new owners from the recent stock sale, how many will show up at their first shareholders meeting is anyone's guess.
The Packers don't really have a guess, either, which is why the previous policy of allowing shareholders to bring guests to the meeting – up to four in recent years – is being changed, at least for now. Shareholders will only be allowed to request a single ticket for this year's meeting, which is slated for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24, at Lambeau Field.
"The biggest issue is really not knowing what our attendance is going to be," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said. "First and foremost, we want to try to make sure any shareholder that wants to come to the meeting can come."
The stock sale that began last December more than tripled the Packers' number of shareholders from approximately 112,000 to more than 360,000. Obviously, there's a chance more shareholders will want to come than the approximately 50,000 that Lambeau can hold for a meeting. If that happens, Murphy said there are contingency plans.
This is clearly in uncharted territory for the Packers, and the first year or two will involve a transition of policies and procedures because it's so difficult to make attendance predictions. The team did see a significant attendance spike at the 1998 meeting following the '97 stock sale, but total attendance was still under 20,000, including guests.
That said, roughly half of the 250,000 new shareholders are from Wisconsin, well within driving distance of Green Bay. But, Murphy also noted that in recent years the number of people actually attending the meeting has been just a fraction of the number of tickets shareholders have requested.
"We do think allowing only shareholders to attend will give us a better idea of how many will be coming to the meeting," Murphy said. "This first year, there's just so much uncertainty after the stock sale. I hope the shareholders can bear with us, because this will be a learning process for us."
The meeting is being held on a Tuesday this year due to a slightly earlier start to training camp. The Packers' first preseason game is on Thursday, Aug. 9, and the players report to camp 15 days prior to that. Murphy said it has worked well to hold the meeting just prior to the players' reporting date, so July 24 was chosen.
The meeting will feature the first public use of the new high-definition video boards, which are part of the $143 million stadium expansion the stock sale is helping to fund. The new tower and viewing platform in the north end zone should also be completed by that time, while the structure of the new seating area in the south end zone will be mostly in place. The 6,700 new seats will be added for the 2013 season.
"It will be exciting for the shareholders to see in person some of the results of the stock sale," Murphy said. "I'm really looking forward to having a chance to meet and talk to the shareholders, especially the new ones, and thank them for their support."
For more information on the shareholders meeting, which will be updated as the date approaches, click here.