Packers post record revenue again in 2014

AP Sports WriterJuly 10, 2014 

Packers Finances Football

FILE - In this July 24, 2013 file photo, Green Bay Packers fans and stockholders attend the Packers NFL football team annual shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The screen at top shows team president Mark Murphy. The Packers offer their annual glimpse into the financial health of the only publicly owned team in the NFL, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson, File) NO SALES

H. MARC LARSON — AP

— The Green Bay Packers had another year of record revenues, yet income fell after making some high-priced player moves.

The NFL's only publicly owned team said Thursday that revenue rose 5 percent from 2013 to $324 million. Team president Mark Murphy credited the boost to another winning season that culminated with a third straight NFC North title, as well as increased revenue sharing across the league.

Total expenses increased nearly 18 percent to $298 million. The Packers still drew a net income of $25 million, but that was down 41 percent from last year.

The Packers are required to release detailed financial data as a publicly owned team.

Murphy cited a $35 million spike in player costs to a record $171 million for much of the increase in expenses.

The Packers signed franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers and star linebacker Clay Matthews to contract extensions last year. This offseason, they signed free agent defensive end Julius Peppers and re-signed cornerback Sam Shields to big contracts.

All the deals came within the 2014 fiscal year calendar, contributing to the boost in expenses.

"It's a timing issue. Last year, we kind of predicted we would have a pretty significant increase in player costs," Murphy said in a conference call. He predicted that player costs would decline next year given its cyclical nature, even if the salary cap goes up.

Player costs would also cover expenses such as benefits, training camp and travel.

But overall, Murphy said the Packers had another strong year and that the team was "in a really sound position financially for the future."

He said the team is ranked 17th in the NFL in ticket prices, but ninth in total revenue. The Packers are one of the league's marquee teams, sporting a national fan base.

Green Bay has invested in Lambeau Field in the smallest market in the NFL. After recent upgrades to the sound system and video boards, the Packers added 7,000 new seats to the south end zone, getting an $8 million boost in tickets and concession sales and a $2 million boost in sponsorships.

For 2014, the team has a new, larger pro shop. It also rededicated a plaza named after former Packers President Bob Harlan. Green Bay plans to open a new east gate to the stadium.

A 4 percent increase in national revenue to $187.7 million was due primarily to NFL Network revenue split evenly among the league's 32 teams, Murphy said.

He also spoke about plans to create a "Titletown" district west of the stadium and cited the success of a Cabela's outdoors store that just opened there last year.

"We're going to continue to invest in the stadium and areas around the stadium, and make sure that Lambeau continues to be a great asset to the organization," Murphy said.

Murphy also said there was "nothing new to report" about bringing back former quarterback Brett Favre and retiring his No. 4 jersey. Murphy said it was a question of finding the right time, and that there were no plans to do so this season.

"We have good relations with Brett, good communications," he said. "We still hope to retire his number and (have Favre) come back to Green Bay sometime in the future."

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