Getting their share: Area Packer fans buy shares in team or receive them as a Christmas giftsThe eras of Bart Starr to Aaron Rodgers can relish with many of the Green Bay Packers fans who received a special Christmas gift.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The eras of Bart Starr to Aaron Rodgers can relish with many of the Green Bay Packers fans who received a special Christmas gift.
Christmas is a time for giving, but some Dickinson residents received an extra piece of Packers’ memorabilia in their stockings — a stock.
“When they came out with the shares, I knew I wanted one,” said Perry Kovash of Dickinson. “I know, dollar-wise, it doesn’t have much, but from the standpoint of just being part-owner of that team excited me.”
On Dec. 6, the Green Packers issued 250,000 new stock shares to be sold for $250 a piece. Fans and other current owners could buy up to 200 shares, which also counted if people bought shares offered during the 1997-98 season.
Green Bay, which is a publically owned team, is using the money made from the stocks for an expansion to historic Lambeau Field. The Packers released stocks during the 1923, ’35, ’50 and ’97.
Loyal fans jumped on this recent opportunity.
“It doesn’t come around very often, just four times before, 1997 and then way back in the day,” Dickinson Trinity junior Andi Lefor said. “You never know if an opportunity like this will arise again.”
For most, it was a surprise. Many didn’t expect to get Packers stocks on Christmas morning.
“It was a complete surprise,” Lefor said. “I was excited, because one of the best things about the Packers is that they are community owned. It just makes you feel like you are part of their tradition.”
Though it acted as a Christmas present, other people knew what they were getting, but the surprise was still there.
“We’ve been kind of toying with that idea for a long time,” Dickinson real estate agent Neal Messer said. “We bypassed it when they did the stadium expansion several years ago. When this opportunity came out, we decided to go for it.”
So what does the stock do for the fans? The stock doesn’t allow the holder to receive a dividend or tax deduction, but it isn’t discouraging people from buying them.
“I thought it was really exciting that I own a little piece of the team,” Dickinson’s Matt Kostelecky said. “The stock isn’t going to up or down and you aren’t going to get any dividends, but as a fan it’s a pretty cool novelty.”
Cal Steiner said he’s got some grief from Minnesota Vikings fans, who told him the Packers are taking advantage of their fans. Steiner said it’s nothing of the sort.
“Our Vikings friends and they say, ‘The Packers are taking advantage of us,’ I respond with, ‘Would you pay $250 for a nice painting?’” Steiner said. “They said, ‘Well sure we would.’ I said ‘For $250 this is the same as a nice painting.’”
Still, if there’s no dividend, tax deduction or monetary value, why would a fan spend $250 on a piece of paper?
Most say it’s the chance just to call themselves part-owner of the team.
The stock does allow the fan to sit in on the annual stockholders meeting that occurs each July. It also allows them to take a free tour of Lambeau Field.
“It’s kind of neat that I could go listen to the meetings and I could vote on things regarding the future of the team,” Lefor said. “It just makes you feel like you are part of the franchise. It’s more personal I guess.”
On the personal note, Steiner said the thought of how the Packers are managed is impressive in itself.
“One of the interesting things on the stock is that if the team is ever sold that nobody gets any money, the money goes to charity,” he said. “That’s written right in the stock.”
Though many of the area fans who bought shares have been to Lambeau Field, Randy Schwartz has yet to step foot in Green Bay, he’s always wanted to.
In 2013, he’ll take that trip.
“It’s on the bucket list to go to Lambeau,” Schwartz said. “Another two years, we’ve got a son playing for the (Dickinson State) Blue Hawks and can’t go while he’s still playing. We don’t want to miss any of those games. It looks like the fall of 2013 is when we are going to do it.”
Schwartz, the president of Edward H. Schwartz Construction of New England, said he has rewarded his employees on the 25-year anniversary of employment with a trip to Green Bay.
“I’ve given three of them that are Packer fans, for 25-year employment awards, I’ve bought trips to Lambeau for them” Schwartz said. “Bought tickets to the game, flew them over there and bought hotels for them. It was great for them.”
The reception from the initial shares was so overwhelming that the Packers issued 30,000 more shares last week. Fans have until Feb. 29 to continue to buy shares.
Though he won’t see any returns no matter how the team does financially, Steiner said it’s great to be a part of a special organization.
“It’s a fans’ team,” Steiner said. “Regardless whether you have the share or not, the team does belongs to the fans and not to an owner.”