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Packers stock sale off to a strong start


GREEN BAY, Wis (WSAU) Green Bay Packers’ stock was flying off the shelves yesterday -- the first day in 13 years that fans could claim a share of the National Football League’s only publicly-owned franchise. Over 28,000 shares were sold in the first two-hours-and-20 minutes. And at that pace, it would only take a few days to sell 250,000 shares – which the Packers were hoping to sell by the end of February.

Unlike the team’s four previous stock sales, this one’s mainly being done over the Internet. And Packers’ president Mark Murphy says fans throughout the country are buying an interest in what he calls the second-favorite-team of many Americans outside Wisconsin. The stock revenue will help pay for a $143-million renovation of Lambeau Field that will include 7,000 new seats, improved video boards, and more.

The last stock sale in 1997-and-‘98 brought in $24-million. It went toward the 2003 renovation of Lambeau. Murphy said he hoped the new sale would bring in at least that much. He said the money from $250 shares would reduce the amount the Packers will have to borrow for the new project. The team’s paying for the work itself.

By the way, you cannot become a player’s agent if you own Packer stock. That’s one of several restrictions put on by the N-F-L. The Packers’ offering document also says stockholders cannot have a share in other teams. And they’re banned from publicly criticizing N-F-L teams. Also, team owners cannot bet on games. If Commissioner Roger Goodell catches them, they can be fined up to $5,000, and be forced to sell their stock.