Record Revenue But Profit Cut in Half

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY

With the new South End Zone, the Packers set a a record for revenue, but a record expenditure on players meant their profit decreased sharply.

The Green Bay Packers generated a team-record $324.1 million during the 2014 fiscal-year, the team announced on Thursday.

However, due to a record level of player costs, profit from operations decreased by more than half. Don’t feel too sorry for the team, though. Profit went from a record $54.3 million in fiscal-year 2013 to a still-healthy $25.6 million in 2014.

“I think we’re in a sound position financially for the future,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said in a conference call.

The debut of the South End Zone, which added 7,000 seats to the iconic stadium, was the key reason why local revenue increased by $8.2 million to $136.4 million. The South End Zone was worth $10 million, Murphy said, with $8 million in tickets and concessions and another $2 million in sponsorships.

National revenue increased by $7.8 million to $187.7 million. The major reasons, Murphy said, were NFL Network going nationwide on Time Warner Cable and Cablevision and the sponsorship deal with Nike.

While total revenue increased by $16 million, expenses soared by $44.8 million, which resulted in the $28.8 million decrease in profit from operations.

Expenses skyrocketed due to a big increase in player costs. In fiscal-year 2013, the Packers spent almost $136 million on their players, a figure that includes the obvious, such as signing bonuses and yearly salaries, and the not-so-obvious, such as travel expenses and workman’s compensation. In fiscal-year 2014, that figure rose sharply to about $171 million. That $35 million increase incorporates lucrative contract extensions for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews early in the fiscal-year and free-agent signings of Sam Shields and Julius Peppers late in the fiscal-year.

The fiscal-year ran from April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014.

Murphy called player expenses “cyclical” — Rodgers and Matthews are the faces of the franchise — and Murphy thought they’d decrease for fiscal-year 2015.

“We anticipate that (player expenses) will go down next year but the (salary) cap will be higher,” Murphy said.

Murphy pointed to the collective bargaining agreement, which was approved before the 2011 season, as a major reason why the Packers are in such strong financial health. The length of the agreement — there are seven more years on the 10-year deal — has provided the league and its teams the financial stability to make sizable investments. For Green Bay, that meant a new sound system for 2011, new HD video boards in 2012 and the South End Zone and new team facilities in 2013. The new Packers Pro Shop — double the size of the previous one — will open on July 17. Murphy anticipates it will add “several” million dollars to the team’s bottom line. A new Packers Hall of Fame and restaurant will open in the spring.

The focus has been — and will continue to be — on improving upon the “fan experience” to get fans onto metal bleachers (and opening their wallets) and off of their comfy couches.

“It’s an issue league-wide and it certainly remains an issue for us, as well, (and) make sure fans have a great experience, not only just from the stadium but their total experience of coming to Lambeau Field,” Murphy said.

20142013ChangeChange by Pct
National revenue$187.7$179.9 +$ 7.84.3%
Local revenue $136.4$128.2+$8.26.4%
Total revenue $324.1 $308.1 +$ 16.0 5.2%
Total expenses $298.5 $253.8+$44.8 17.6%
Profit from operations $25.6 $54.3-$28.8-52.9%
Net income $25.3 $43.1 -$17.8 -41.3%

The monetary figures are in millions of dollars.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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