The Green Bay Packers released their annual financial report yesterday and it offered record numbers, both good and bad. The team says it brought in a record 258 million dollars in revenue last fiscal year, but paid out a record 248 million in expenses. As you would expect, the bulk of that figure was player costs, 161 million, up 22 million from the previous year. Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said player costs over the past 4 years have gone up 11.8% while revenue has grown only 5.5%. That's what the rest of the league will take notice of. The Packers, as the only publicly owned team in the league, is the only team that releases financial numbers. NFL owners are in the midst of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement and one of the major reasons they decided to opt out of the CBA was the ever narrowing gap of revenue to expenses league wide. Even with brand new or renovated stadiums, the money being brought in is not keeping pace with the paychecks going out. Granted, Green Bay re-signed several key veterans last year and had to pay a pair of number one draft picks which accounted for most of the increase. That should ease off a bit this season with a relatively inexpensive number one pick in offensive tackle Brian Bulaga and few veteran renegotiations. Local revenue actually went down slightly last year, the Packers Pro Shop had flat sales with a down economy and the team didn't host a playoff game which makes a big difference. The ultimate bottom line for the Packers was a net income gain of 5.2 million dollars, up from 4 million the previous year but down significantly from the 25 and 23 million dollar figures from the mid-2000's. The team also failed to put any more money into the franchise preservation fund, which holds steady at 125 million dollars. The organization has been in the process of purchasing land around Lambeau Field the past few years and they feel that investment offsets the contribution to the preservation fund. How that land is developed and utilized in the future will be key to increasing the team's revenue stream and giving them a bigger cushion between the cash coming in, and the money going out.
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