In 1919, Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun of the Indian Packing Company founded the Green Bay Packers. They played a hell of a first season with a record of 10-1. They called themselves The Packers. Two years later, the Indian Packing Company was acquired by the Acme Packing Company. Lambeau, who still managed the team, got the Packers to join the newly formed American Professional Football Association (the predecessor of the National Football League), but was kicked out at the end of its first year after allegations of the team using college players were brought forth.
The legend himself, the one and only Curly Lambeau.
In 1922, Lambeau reapplied to the league, but hit financial troubles which brought himself and the team into debt. Rather than let the team fade into irrelevance, Lambeau asked donors to continue the team's legacy. By the start of the 1923 the Packers became publically-owned, non-profit entity backed by over 400 individual donors.
Today, the Green Bay Packers have over 360,760 shareholders (representing 5,011,558 shares).
Anybody can become a shareholder
People can only become shareholders during stock drives (only five in the team's history (That day marked the first of five stock drives in the team’s 92 years (1923, 1935, 1950, 1997, 2011)
Limited to no more than 2000 shares of stock to prevent anyone from taking over the team
Each share costs $250.
Shareholders are in charge of team, however there are few actual perks
Receive no dividend on their investment
No free merchandise
Given a piece of paper saying they're shareholders
Source of pride/paying to keep the team around
Access to the Packers' exclusive online shop
Attend annual shareholder meeting
Annual shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field.
The shareholders have all the say in what happens with the team. To organize, the shareholders have an annual meeting at Lambeau Field where they they elect a board of directors and a seven-member executive committee (which sits in on NFL owner meetings on their behalf). Shareholders are encouraged to vote online or on the phone previous to the meeting. During the meeting, shareholders are updated on the budget, general welfare of the team, and advancements charitable donations and community outreach programs.
When the team is despearate for money, they open up stock drives to allow new shareholders to buy into the team. The last time they did this in 2011, the stock drive was used to finance rennovations to Lambeau Field.
Because of the way the team is organized, there is zero-risk of the team moving to another city. Additionally, because there is no single owner the Packers' general manager, Ted Thompson, is able to run riskier managment decisions without a billionaire looming in the shadows. He made the decision to oust legendary quarterback Brett Favre to make room for the new up-and-coming Aaron Rodgers, an unpopular trade which ultimately proved extremely successful when they won the superbowl in 2011.
Who other than your man, Ted Thompson
💖💖💖 Aaron celebrating after winning the superbowl
Despite the Packers' unconventional business model, they have proven to be a highly successful franchise, both in its financial and athletic performance.