Want to be an NFL owner? Packers plan first stock sale since '97

MILWAUKEE -- Cheeseheads around the world might soon have a chance to own a piece of the Super Bowl champions.

The Green Bay Packers, the NFL's only publicly owned team, are moving toward a new stock sale by the end of the year to raise money that would help pay for $130 million in renovations at historic Lambeau Field.

Each share likely would cost about $200 and include voting rights, though the value wouldn't appreciate and there would be no dividends. Stockholders would be able to attend annual meetings at Lambeau, and they'd enjoy such perks as tours of the playing field and locker rooms. Best of all, they legitimately could call themselves NFL owners.

The NFL planned to brief the other teams about the proposal at a league meeting Tuesday.

An owners' vote won't be necessary because the proposal meets the same conditions established in 1997, the last time Green Bay sold stock, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. He said the league allows the Packers to sell stock as long as the money is used only for capital costs such as stadium improvements.

The Packers plan to add thousands of seats and other stadium amenities in time for the 2013 season. While other teams often ask taxpayers to help pay for building upgrades, the Packers will foot the entire bill themselves through the stock sale and private financing.

The stock sale would be the fifth in Packers history. There are currently 112,205 shareholders who own a total of 4.75 million shares.

Just as businesses have to enter a quiet period before going public, the Packers say they can't reveal much until regulatory issues are resolved.

"We intend to keep our fans informed of further developments to the greatest extent possible," said Jason Wied, the team's vice president of administration/general counsel.

If the team receives final approval, the stock sale could begin within weeks. Christmas shoppers take note, though: Shares of stock can't be resold, and transfer of shares generally is limited to immediate relatives and heirs.

The Packers have been a publicly owned nonprofit corporation since 1923. The team held its first stock sale that year, followed by sales in 1935 and 1950 that helped keep the franchise afloat while other small-market teams were going under.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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