Packers shareholders braved the elements to sit in Lambeau Field for the annual shareholders meeting. Just about everyone, including all the owners in attendance, voted their shares by proxy. There were some owners who did enter their votes for members on the Board of Directors right in the Atrium.
The biggest draws were clearly the speeches by Ted Thompson and Mark Murphy. The news that very quickly made it to ESPN and other sports news outlets was the announcement that the Packers have applied to host the NFL Draft for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Mark Murphy stated that it could be a showcase for the NFL’s smallest city. This is obviously a big story, but what is missing is how many other teams also applied. It is likely that there are many suitors for this role, but the Packers are merely the only one required to have a public meeting to discuss their application.
Murphy continued with the ongoing discussion of the Titletown District. Everyone was able to see the frames that will become the hotel and the Hinterland restaurant close to the field. The project is moving along and the presentation included a video that ended with an overhead shot of the projected final project, then an animation outlined the coming plaza and Lambeau Field which slowly faded into a Lombardi Trophy. The news presented about further building projects included a plan to make the Tundra Tailgate area into a permanent structure. There was a brief presentation showing an outlined structure that appeared to match the brick look of the Lambeau Field facade. Now a festival tent stands at this location.
In addressing the many projects for which the Packers have provided grants (including the Jackie Nitschke Center and St. Norbert’s College) a member among the shareholders yelled out a thank you to the Packers for all their support. After some applause from the other owners in attendance, Mark Murphy joked that clearly he had some relatives in the crowd.
Ted Thompson started his speech with a story of his first year with the Houston Oilers. Thompson told of how the veteran center Carl Mauck would see Thompson in the training room every day and Mauck would ask him everyday, “haven’t they cut you yet Thompson?” After a full training camp, Thompson was informed he had made the team. Thompson told those gathered that he handled it very “professionally.” Thompson described skipping to the training room, finding Mauck there getting his ankles taped, then yelled out how he had made the team. We all have to admit, the image of Ted Thompson skipping down a hall is just amazing.
The sad task of following these two speakers fell to Mark McMullen with the Treasurer’s Report. Many people started leaving the bleachers and heading out at that point. McMullen started to discuss how the stadium itself has many money making ventures: the Pro Shop, 1919 Kitchen & Tap, the Hall of Fame, the Stadium Tours. As people continued to leave, McMullen stated that he always said that when people were leaving every time he spoke, they were just heading to one of those four things.
A few other interesting points in these reports involved the finances of the team. The Packers actually set a team record for the most stadium tours over the last year. The Packers also had a large increase in net profit, going from $29.1 million in the 2015 fiscal year to $48.9 million in the 2016 fiscal year. Looking ahead to the 2017 year, McMullen stated that there will be an increase in expenditures on players salaries as there will be many new bonuses handed out heading into next season.