Packers stock: worthless to some, priceless to others
Chris Haworth, a Milwaukee sales executive, says he had his stock sale finalized within 15 minutes of the initial offering. And while some of his friends made fun of him for forking over $250 so willingly, for him it was a no-brainer.
"A share of Packers stock is the one item of merchandise that no other NFL franchise can offer," Haworth says. "Unlike a jersey, hat, or team coffee mug, I know that the entire $250 of my purchase will go directly to improving the team and facilities. No middle man, no markup."
Susan Schmitz is a sales executive based in Hales Corners. Her husband, Mike, bought the family one share of stock. "His feeling is that $250 is a small price to pay for the entertainment value the Packers bring to our lives," Schmitz says. "Plus, we are planning a trip to the shareholders meeting with several friends that are also shareholders."
Richland Center native Brandon Ewing got the surprise of his life when he opened up his Christmas present from his fiancée, Anna. "I was in awe," Ewing remembers. "I actually teared up. To be part owner for a team that I have been watching and loving for the last 27 years is an honor. Knowing all of the history surrounding the Packer organization really makes it surreal."
The pull of the Green Bay Packers is either the biggest con in the history of sports, or, more likely, it is a franchise that has a limitless, hypnotic gravitation to fans that appreciate the place the team has in the pantheon of American sports. One thing is for certain, although no one has any delusions of actual power that comes with ownership, buyers of stock have a faith in their team that is unbroken.
To be sure, the theme as to why someone would purchase an otherwise worthless piece of paper is a common one.
Justin Mitchell is a doctor from Oshkosh but recently moved to Denver. "I know it's only a piece of paper, and that it gets me nothing other than bragging rights - but this team has thrived for decades because of the overwhelming support and backing of it's community, and I'm proud to be a part of that," Mitchell says.
Joe Jurkiewicz of Racine agrees. "It may a worthless piece of paper to some, but to me it means everything."
Curtis Spaeth of Greenfield received one share for Christmas. "It was probably the best gift I have ever gotten," he says. "Being a Packers fan for 36 years and being able to say that I have an ownership in something that important to me really means a lot. Also, that $250 helps keep the Packers competitive."
Sean Rose of Milwaukee also received a share of stock for Christmas from his fiancée, Sarah. "I have never owned anything Packers. No hat, T-shirt, jersey nothing," Rose says. "Not because I wasn't a fan but I could never honestly decide what I wanted. The team has brought so many memories to me through the years."
Just as small towns, particularly in the south such as Tuscaloosa, Auburn, and Fayetteville live for their college football teams and treat others as outside intruders; the same, to a certain extent, can be said of Packers fans here in Wisconsin. We know the team, just as in college, will never move. The historical and recent success has stirred up a wave of provincialism toward the one sporting constant that has been passed down from generation to generation. And just like when anything that one loves is threatened, whether by rogue owners or an out of control player salary structure, we have circled the wagons one by one, $250 in hand.
"It's a thank you to the team and management for the countless memories that they have created for me over the decades I have passionately followed them," Haworth concludes. "Two hundred and fifty dollars is a drop in the bucket considering the vivid images spent watching games with friends, families, and even complete strangers who share the same passion."
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