GREEN BAY - With record-setting revenue, the Packers say they are on solid financial footing, despite seeing their profits decrease from last year.
The team's profit from operations during its 2014 fiscal year that ended March 31 – was $25.6 million. That's down more than half – nearly $29 million – from the previous year. That follows franchise-high profits of $54.3 million in 2013, and $43 million in 2012.
The Packers released the team’s financials to the media Thursday, ahead of disclosing the numbers to shareholders next week.
“Another strong financial year, I think a continued strong performance by the team on the field and obviously the fan support propelled us to an all-time high, in terms of revenue,” said Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy.
This year, the Packers brought in $324 million in revenue; up $16 million from last year. However, the yearly revenue gains couldn’t outpace growing expenses. Those increased by $44.8 million over last year, ending at $298.5 million.
Murphy says player contracts – particularly linebacker Clay Matthews and quarterback Aaron Rodgers – and the depreciation of the new south end zone were the main drivers behind the increased expenses and decreased profits.
“We continue to focus on investing in our team, investing in the stadium, with a real priority on the game day experience,” said Murphy.
A game day experience that is getting more costly. The Packers announced earlier this year that ticket prices in stadium bowl seats will increase $3 for the 2014-15 season; the fifth season in a row ticket prices have gone up. Murphy says it's a balancing act.
"We want to be affordable, we want people to be able to bring their families, but we also, we operate within the context of the league."
Despite the increased expenses and decreased profit, the team padded its safety net – known as the corporate reserve fund – by $30 million; now totaling $284 million.
Stadium renovation tidbits
Murphy says the addition of 7,000 seats in the south end zone for this past season are performing as expected, bringing in an extra $10 million a year; $8 million in ticket and concession sales, and $2 million in sponsorships.
The south end zone project is just one several stadium renovation projects spanning four years and costing $312 million.
Murphy says, to date, 51% of construction project dollars have been spent in Brown County, 88% in Northeast Wisconsin and 95% in the state, creating 3,000 jobs and $130 million in wages.
Also on the radar is developing the area to the west of the stadium into a year-round fan experience.
"Over the next 10 years, some of the things we're looking at with Titletown could be as significant an investment and change that the Packers can have on a community, as anything we do," said Murphy.
The Packers own much of the land to the west of the stadium. The announcement by Sears to close the K-Mart store on Lombardi Avenue is not lost on Murphy.
He says the team is looking at the possibility of razing the building ahead of the 2014 season to allow for more parking.