GREEN BAY, Wis. – If you have $3.475 billion sitting in your bank account – and who doesn’t? – you could afford the Green Bay Packers.
Of course, that’s not how it works. You can’t just send Mark Murphy the cash via PayPal, make Matt LaFleur coach for life and run the club like your fantasy football team. Nonetheless, that’s the value of the franchise based in the NFL’s smallest market, according to Forbes. That’s up 14 percent, even during a pandemic year in which the team lost $38.8 million in the last fiscal-year.
“It was the first time we haven’t had a profit in over 20 years,” Packers President Mark Murphy said on July 16. The last time, he said, was before the major stadium renovation completed in 2003.
According to Forbes, the value of the average NFL team rose 14 percent to $3.48 billion, the biggest gain in five years, even with the sting of COVID-19 meaning few, if any, fans in the stands. Based on the Packers' financial statement, national revenue was $309.2 million. That means the team’s 32 teams shared a financial pie of $9.894 billion, an increase of more than $42 million.
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That's nothing. According to Forbes, the national media rights payout alone to each of the league’s 32 teams is going to increase by more than $150 million by 2032. And that doesn't take into account other revenue streams.
The Dallas Cowboys are worth $6.5 billion, the priciest in the NFL for the 15th consecutive year. The New England Patriots are next at $5 billion. Green Bay is 13th. In the NFC North, the Chicago Bears are seventh at $4.075 billion, the Minnesota Vikings are 18th at $3.35 billion and the Detroit Lions are 30th at $2.24 billion. The Buffalo Bills are last but still an unaffordable $2.27 billion.
Even after a tough financial year, Murphy felt good about the team’s fiscal future. The team’s corporate reserve fund – its rainy-day fund – was worth a whopping $511 million.
The optimistic future is likely a sentiment possessed by owners throughout the league as money pours into the vaults and a collective bargaining agreement to ensure labor harmony through 2030.
“COVID obviously impacted the Packers from a financial perspective,” Murphy said. “Our local revenue was significantly impacted. Still, we really feel that we remain in a strong financial position going forward and that we will continue to be able to provide the resources for the organization to be successful both on and off the field. As we all faced health and economic challenges with the pandemic, we really feel we emerged in a very good financial position.”