On the day that could very well determine the fate of the Eagles 2019 season, the pivotal matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football, I’d like us all to take a deep breath, relax, and remember that no matter what happens tonight Eagles fans will never be conned into buying $64 million in fake team stock to foot the bill for a refurbishment of Lincoln Financial Field.
Yes, win or lose, we’ll never be dumb enough to buy worthless pieces of paper saying we “own” a portion of the Eagles for $250 a pop.
It’s a scam as old as time. Billionaire owner doesn’t want to pay for refurbishments to stadium, decides to issue 269,000 shares of team stock to its hayseed fanbase for $250 on Dec. 6, 2011, and sells out in less than three months on Feb. 29, 2012, clearing $64 million in funds.
So where do the funds go? A charity? After all, the stocks are completely inconsequential, offering owners little more than a paper certificate and the right to attend an annual franchise meeting every summer to exercise their “insubstantial” voting power. OH MY NO… the $64 million covered the costs for a refurbishment of Lambeau Field, the beloved Packers institution that already charges its season ticket owners between $200 to $2,100 in seat licensing fees PER seat.
To raise money for a large $143-million Lambeau Field expansion, which included approximately 6,700 new seats, new high-definition video boards, a new sound system, and two new gates, a fifth stock sale began on December 6, 2011.
Cool! So the stock gives you insubstantial voting power, an invitation to go to an annual franchise meeting you’ll never, ever take up, and the opportunity to buy special “stock owner” team merchandise, like a new throwback Antonio Freeman jersey (cost $250).
(Author’s Note: This paragraph was added after publication) It is particularly galling when you figure that in 2001 a referendum was passed increasing the Brown County sales tax by 0.5% (Brown County is where Lambeau Field is located) to raise taxpayer money to help support a planned $295 million in Lambeau renovations. When the sales tax came off the books in 2015 more than $300 million in taxes had been collected to fund the renovations.
The stock, as Darren Rovell reported in 2011, is worth roughly around 3-cents a share. It’s a $250 piece of paper to let Packers fans have a fantasy about owning the franchise, when in reality the stock has the equivalent value of a Christmas present to Aaron Rodgers from his extended family. It’s absolutely worthless.
At least Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles have the decency to modestly raise concessions to pay for refurbishments to Lincoln Financial Field instead of playing to the rustic ideology that the Packers are “owned” by the fans. I’d gladly pay 50-cents more for a hotdog for the one game I attend every year than pay $250 for the unironic right to call myself a team owner.
Come on. You’re basically spending $250 to frame a piece of paper letting you play dress up as a team owner so the real owner of the franchise, billionaire and team president Mark Murphy (who looks like he could grate a block of Wisconsin sharp cheddar with the gaps in his teeth) didn’t have to dip into his own pockets to pay for the refurbishments of his outdated stadium. Packers fans foot the $64 million bill so Murphy could again think about paying for Invisalign but inevitably put it off for another decade.
If you bought a piece of the stock, bravo. You’re a rube who could have spent that money on any other number of things, like a new outhouse or an XXL team shirt (A Green Bay medium) at the Packers official store, anything.
There’s a reason no other team does this other than the Packers, but no other fans are stupid enough to fall for it. Granted, Eagles fans are far too busy fighting their own city athletes to bother purchasing stock of any kind, but in the eyes of the law we own the Packers about as much as you do.
If you introduced yourself to Murphy as a team owner he’d spit in your face. He’d be right to do so.
It’s not quaint. Nobody actually believes the fans “own” the team outside of the city limits of Green Bay. You bumpkins have been conned and you have been conned good. I look forward to 2025 when the team issues another 500,000 shares of stock to refurbish the pool in Murphy’s summer home.