Report from the Packers 2014 Shareholders Meeting
As most of you probably already know, the Green Bay Packers' ownership is unique in that they are owned by fans that have purchased stock.
This is also a big reason why the team is still in the lowly-populated Green Bay, Wisconsin. Had they been owned by some millionaire businessman (like many of the other teams), they would most likely move the team to a big city like Los Angeles in order to gain a larger fan-base (not that the Packers currently have that problem). Although the shareholders don't have much power or responsibility on the team, it still connects the fans with the franchise in a very special way. Fortunately for me, I became a shareholder in the 2011 stock sale and I was able to make the trip to Green Bay for the annual Shareholders Meeting.
This year, 14,759 shareholders attended the meeting, which was actually more than they were expecting. Shareholders were also able to bring extra family or friends to the meeting, so there were many young fans in attendance that haven't had the chance to buy stock yet.
The high point of meeting was when Packers General Manager Ted Thompson took the stage to address the fans, followed by President and CEO Mark Murphy. Of course, Thompson and Murphy aren't going to freely give away any information or game plans regarding the Packers, but they still seemed to be very comfortable and lighthearted while speaking. After Thompson and Murphy spoke, a few members from the Board of Directors addressed the crowed regarding any non-football operations (treasury, community relations, foundations, etc.), but I'm guessing that you're not really interested in that information. Instead, I'll give you some of the other highlights of the 2014 Shareholders Meeting.
- Mark Murphy stated that there's a chance that the Packers may play a game in London as soon as the 2016 season. However, he later said that it wouldn't be a home game for them because Green Bay's economy greatly depends on Packers' home games.
- When Murphy said that next year's NFL Draft will take place in either Los Angeles or Chicago, fans began to boo. Murphy jokingly replied by saying, "Yeah, I thought it was a bad idea, too." That being said, Murphy and the Packers has let the NFL know that they are interested in eventually hosting the NFL Draft.
- Murphy stated that the new addition to the south end zone has made Lambeau Field the second largest NFL stadium, behind MetLife Stadium in New York.
- Murphy anticipates that the playoffs will soon feature 14 teams instead of 12.
- Murphy also told the crowd that Potts Avenue has been changed to "Mike McCarthy Way" after Coach Mike McCarthy.
- When Ted Thompson read aloud the Packers 2014 Draft Class, Former Badgers Receiver Jared Abbrederis received the loudest cheer from the fans. Thompson then said, "I've been waiting to announce him in front of someone for a long time."
- Ted Thompson on the Packers' rookies: "We're hoping those guys can help us. They're rookies, but this is a big boy league."
- Are you on the list to get Packers season tickets? If so, according to Mark Murphy, you are one of 112,000 on the wait list.
Whether you are a Packer fan or not, I urge you to go visit Lambeau Field at least once in your lifetime. Not only has it held some of the greatest moments in football history, but the recent renovations of the last couple years have allowed it to remain one of the best stadiums despite it being 57 years old. Thanks to the fan base, the small-town support, and the quality players throughout many seasons, the Packers and Lambeau Field are still standing tall in the world of football, and I don't think that will ever change.