While it's release is always news for the Green Bay Packers, the team is overshadowed this year because the financial report is likely to be used by the owners to demand the players take a pay cut, and by the players to show how much money the owners are making. Team president Mark Murphy is already pointing out the growing player costs, while I'm sure the players will point out that the team increased their gross revenue and net income.
Details from the Journal Sentinel:
Total team revenue was $258 million, a record, up from $248 million.
Expenses, especially player costs, increased markedly. Operating expenses jumped to $248 million, up from $228 million. Of that amount, $161 million went to player costs, up from $139 million...
According to team officials, over a four-year period, while player costs have gone up 11.8%, revenue has only gone up 5.5%.
According to the unnamed team officials, four years ago revenue was approximately $245 million, with player costs of approximately $145 million, which produced income from operations of around $100 million, to $258 million less $161 million equals $97 million. Going from $100 million to $97 million doesn't sound like a crisis.
And the teams can negotiate the salaries! If you want to internally cap player costs at $140 million, go ahead and do it.
Of course the Packers financial situation doesn't look like all the other teams. For example the Packers waiting list will never be emptied in my lifetime, but the Jaguars just can't sell enough tickets. No league is ever going to smooth out the differences between the rich and poor teams, but the NFL does it as well as any of them. These numbers are going to have to be the benchmark unless the NFL wants to finally open their books and prove the players wrong.
If the owners lockout the players over this, I'm going to be pissed. This is nothing for us to lose any football games over.