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Packers state of the franchise

by Mark Daniels

Under the bylaws of the corporation, it is a neccessary gathering but the Green Bay Packers, Incorporated annual meeting of shareholders is, for all intents and purposes, a love in.  The organization's executive committee and top football management gather to report on the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.   There are reports from the Audit Committee, Community Relations and Investments. Director nominations are announced and approved.  The Treasurer offers details on the bottom line financially.  This is all done on a canopied stage on the center of the lush green tundra and in front over more than 13,000 shareholders, owners if you will, and their guests.  It is one of the most unique events in all of professional sports.   Where else will you find NFL franchise owners dressed in jersies, wearing cheeseheads and just happy to be there?

Packers President Mark Murphy presided and said repeatedly, the franchise is on solid footing both financially and with regard to football operations.   The numbers certainly don't lie.  Executive Commitee Treasurer Mark McMullen detailed the record breaking numbers:  308 million dollars in total revenue, 54 million in operation profits and a net income of 43 million dollars.   The team's corporate reserve fund has crossed the quarter of a billon dollar threshhold.   The big numbers were produced by an increase in national revenue, the NFL's collective bargaining agreement continues to divvy up huge slices of the pie to teams.   Player costs went down  by over 19 million dollars, but that was more a glitch than anything.   Huge contract extensions to Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews were finalized in April and May and they'll be very noticeable on next year's ledger.

As for the football operations, General Manager Ted Thompson avoided great detail on how he views the 2013 team but went out of his way to "Thank God everyday, Mike McCarthy is the head coach of the Packers."  The GM/Coach tandem has won a Super Bowl together, are coming off two straight NFC North titles and are hoping to make it five straight playoff seasons come next January.  Thompson admitted last year didn't end well but said the NFL is a hard business.

Following the meeting, the shareholders got an opportunity to tour the facilities, from the Hall of Fame to the Pro Shop, but most couldn't wait to ride the escalators up to the new south end zone stands.   The 7000 seat upper deck expansion is complete, taking 3800 names off the season ticket waiting list, some holding out for as long as 30 years.  Lambeau's capacity now climbs to 80,750, making it the third largest house in the league and Murphy joked, "we just passed Dallas!".

The meeting really launches the 2013 campaign as the players start arriving at St. Norbert college for training camp.   They'll undergo physicals Thursday and hit the practice field for the first time on Friday morning.    Under a bright sky, the ownership of the Packers learned the franchise is indeed awash in "green" and ready to grab for the "gold", in this case, the sterling silver Vince Lombardi trophy once again.