GREEN BAY – COVID-19 is not gone, but it ceased to be a factor for the Green Bay Packers’ attendance numbers, and that resulted in a rebound in the team’s financial performance.
The Packers reported a record $579 million in revenue for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which concluded at the end of March. The team reported profit from operations of $77.7 million, also a record.
“I think the storyline this year is return to normalcy,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said Friday. The Packers released their financial results ahead of the annual shareholders meeting, scheduled for 11 am Monday at Lambeau Field.
The NFL’s smallest-market team, and the only one that makes its financial results public, the Packers reported $61.6 million in net income. Total revenue and profit from operations, rather than net income, are the more significant numbers in Packers’ finances because all money, whether profit or not, goes into team operations or the community. Packers stock cannot be traded and does not pay dividends.
OPINION:Tony Boselli takes high road to Hall of Fame after Bruce Smith’s unnecessary barb
The most significant result last year was the increase in local revenue, also a record at $231.7 million, compared to $61.9 million during the 2020-21 year, when fans did not attend regular-season games, or $210.9 million in 2019-20, before COVID.
“The atrium contributed to that,” said Paul Baniel, Packers vice president of finance and administration. “The Packers Pro Shop had its best year.”
Both the Pro Shop and the atrium, which is rented for events such as corporate meetings, conventions and weddings, benefited from pent-up, post-COVID demand, Baniel said.
The Packers throwback jersey introduced last year and Cliff Christl’s comprehensive Packers history series, “The Greatest Story in Sports,” were notable contributors to Pro Shop sales.
Team expenses of $501.3 million was a COVID-influenced record. The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed two years ago to push off payment of some player benefits so teams could maintain salaries in the midst of lower or non-existent fan attendance at games. Those payments came due last year.
“We did end up reworking and renegotiating a lot of player contracts,” Murphy said. “Quite honestly, we did some things we probably would not have done had it not been for the pandemic and the financial situation we saw ourselves in.”
National revenue increased significantly from 2019-20, which the Packers were using for most comparisons, when it was $296 million, and last year, when it was $309.2 million.
National revenue, which is shared equally by all 32 teams and is funded primarily by television and other media deals, remained relatively intact during the 2020 season because the NFL played and televised all of its games, whether there were fans in the stands or not.
Murphy attributed the increase in income to a newly introduced 17th regular-season game last year, which increased TV revenue, among other things; an extra primetime playoff game last season; increases in sponsorship revenue, and the annual escalation of television revenue.
National revenue is expected to increase for a dozen more years, which is how long the NFL has signed TV deals.
The Packers’ corporate reserve fund — its savings account — fell from more than $500 million to about $440 million because of the drop in the stock market over the past several months.
The Packers also made a $3 million contribution to the Packers Foundation, that team’s charitable organization which, like the corporate reserve, suffered investment losses. As it happened, the contribution offset those losses, keeping the fund at $46 million.
A stock sale earlier this year added 177,000 shareholders to the Packers ownership roster. The team now has more than 537,000 shareholders.
The money raised in the stock sale, about $66 million, will be used for non-player-related construction projects, such as concession stands renovation and new video scoreboards, scheduled to be installed for the 2023 season.