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“The Packer Franchise Has Such a Deep History,” The Email Begins

If this doesn’t convince you accountants are important, nothing will:

I noticed this article during a visit back to my hometown of Green Bay. Now this is something I think we all can aspire to. The Packer franchise has such a deep history, and especially interesting as the Packers are the only publicly-owned professional football franchise in the NFL (and maybe the only sports franchise in the US) where you can purchase shares of its stock. Go Pack.


“Green Bay Packers likely owe existence to treasurer Frank Jonet”

The Green Bay Press-Gazette shares the story of guys with money who stepped up to save a team they loved:

Even casual students of Green Bay Packers history might recognize the names of the local businessmen who played the key roles in keeping the franchise afloat through its economically turbulent first 30 years.

There’s the legendary Curly Lambeau, whose statue sits in front of the Lambeau Field Atrium, and the rest of the “Hungry Five” who made sure the team stayed solvent in its most dire days: Andrew Turnbull, the former Green Bay Press-Gazette publisher and first team president; Lee Joannes, a local grocery wholesaler and team president from 1930-47; Dr. W.W. Kelly, another original franchise officer who doubled as the team’s first physician; and Gerald Clifford, the Packers’ long-time attorney who in 1923 drew up the papers for their one-of-a-kind incorporation.

And what’s early Packers history without mention of George Calhoun, the irascible Press-Gazette sports editor who relentlessly promoted the team after a chance meeting with Lambeau on a Green Bay street corner in 1919 spurred the idea for a local professional football club?

But even experts on the Packers’ early years might not have heard of Frank Jonet, the taciturn, civic-minded accountant who helped steer the franchise through bankruptcy receivership in the mid-1930s and played a key role in the desperate stock sales of 1935 and 1950 that kept the franchise alive.

“I find it strange that (Jonet) wasn’t better known, particularly because he was the financial receiver of the franchise at a time when this team was very, very close to going out of business,” said Bob Harlan, the Packers’ chairman emeritus, who will present Jonet into the team’s hall of fame on Saturday. “The Circuit Court really threatened him, either pay these bills or close up your shop. He was one of the leaders who saw to it that this team continued to exist.”

The entire thing is too long to read even for me and that’s my team but you’re welcome to.

The short version is that the team suffered through multiple financial crises and survived somehow.

Audited Financial Statements for NFL Ventures, L.P. Are Now Available for Your Viewing Pleasure

Today in leaked sports organization financial statements news, Deadspin’s latest scoop is the audited financial statements of NFL Ventures, L.P. and Subsidiaries. NFL Ventures consists of the following subsidiaries: NFL Enterprises, NFL Properties, NFL Productions and NFL International. These companies perform operations from broadcasting to advertising to the NFL Network to Super Bowl hospitality.

As you can imagine, professional football in the United States is a pretty lucrative business. Forget the mess that is the

Ugh. That’s an ugly one, huh? I managed to get pretty close on the math, however. If you multiply the total expenses by 1.09 and then subtract that total from the gross revenues of $1.7 billion, you get the $1.2 billion (within $15-20 million or so). Craggs writes that this “accounts for the drop in net income” although that doesn’t seem correct (I emailed him to see if he can clarify) but is correct in saying that this remittance is simply “money moving from one pocket to another.”

Other than that, the report, also audited by Deloitte, is fairly lengthy and seems fairly innocuous since the companies as a whole appear to be extremely healthy (e.g. robust working capital, growing operating profit, impressive cash flow). There was a cash distribution FYE ’10 of $136 million to the limited partners, however nothing else really stands out.

Of course if you’re a rabid football fan, this is all quite infuriating because it stands as evidence that the team owners simply want more money for themselves. And Craggs smartly points out that since the G-3 program ran dry in ’07, that left some owners in the lurch:

[T]he case could be made that the real dispute at the heart of the lockout lay between the owners who’d exploited the G-3 program to build bright new revenue-generating stadiums and those who hadn’t and now couldn’t because their peers had burned through the fund. In this light, the lockout looks like something else entirely — less a battle between management and labor and more a proxy war in which the owners, unwilling to fight each other for money, decided to extract it from the players instead.

The full report is on the next page. Enjoy.

Nfl Ventures