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Packers Exploring Jersey Sponsorship

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Packers Exploring Jersey Sponsorship

Packers Manager of Corporate Communications Aaron Popkey confirmed to Cheesehead TV today that the Packers are exploring the possibility of adding corporate sponsorship to their practice jerseys in the form of a small patch featuring a corporate logo. (Popkey gets points taken away for his strict adherence to his PR talking points. Indeed, the quotes attributed to SVP of Marketing and Sales Laura Sankey in the Associated Press report are almost an  identical match to what Popkey gave me over the phone. On the other hand, he offsets that and gets many points in his favor for actually calling a blogger back.) The Packers would be taking advantage of a new rule approved by NFL owners in March allowing the long-taboo-in-the-NFL practice of corporate sponsorship to encroach on the playing field past the sport-related level. (Equipment, sports drinks, etc) This follows closely on the heels of the Packers reported interest in exploring the possibility of working out a lottery deal, wherin the Packers logo would be placed on a state lottery ticket.

Purists have been up in arms, but really, it's not like the Packers have much choice.

Even if, by some miracle, the NFLPA and the league come to an agreement before the current CBA expires and revenue sharing is saved and the salary cap maintained, the fact remains that more and more owners will be building bigger and bigger stadiums,  the revenue from which will be outside the purvey of the leagues revene sharing system. (Yes, I realize that this is partly what the two parties will be negotiating, but do you really think for one second that Danny Snyder or Jerry Jones will allow their personal shrines to the almighty dollar to generate revenue for other teams? Not on your life...) And as these stadiums get built, the Packers will fall further and further down the valuation list of NFL teams. Look at that list, from September of 2008. The Packers are ranked at number 16. In 2004, the year after the Packers finished remodeling Lambeau Field, they were in the Top 10. And don't be fooled into thinking that if everything falls into place and the Packers go on a Super Bowl run, that their fortunes will be drastically altered. Even after a 13-3 season that saw a NFC Championship Game played at Lambeau Field, the Packers failed to crack the Top 10, and this was before the current economic downturn had truly gripped the country.

If you're a Packer fan, jersey sponsorship should be welcome, if somewhat inevitable news. Of course some will point to the fact that "Its only a practice jersey" - but we all know better, don't we? It's only a matter of time until we see larger and larger swaths of uniform, practice and game day,  taken up by corporate sponsorship. As someone who watches the English Premier League, (oh, I'm sorry, I mean the Barclay's Premier League) this doesn't bother me in the slightest, especially if it will help keep the Packers around as a viable NFL franchise for years to come, which it most certainly will.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ryeguy812's picture

Its a fine source of revenue and it was only a matter of time before a major US sport started doing the sponsoring of jerseys. But on the other hand....i'm sort a purist who would hate to have a large Oneida Casino logo on the back of Aaron Rodgers' jersey.
Some things are sacred in sports. There was an interesting article that I cannot find talking about how you just won't see certain stadiums get corporate names: Yankee Stadium, Lambeau, Solider Field, Fenway Park and a few others because of the potential backlash from fans for defaming such a landmark. It's a fine line between making some money and selling out, hopefully the Packers can toe it successfully.
BTW....love the EPL as well

L.A.'s picture

Have you been to a training camp practice lately? It's like a circus out there. Yeah, sitting on the benches and watching practices are still free, but there's "experiences" and other money-makers left and right.

A "purist" would probably harken back to the days when you literally just went to the practices with a cooler, watched practice, and left. It's all about maximizing every possible dollar. Anyone notice the Bellin Health banners that adorn the Hutson Center while you are watching pratice?

Conversely, I do agree...I don't like the idea of ads on the practice uniforms. But, if you think about it, doesn't Reebok get their "logo" on it for free anyway?

packeraaron's picture

L.A. - My late grandmother would rail on and on about how the Packers were so much better to watch when they played with some portable bleachers in a farmers field. I would give anything to see it...

AdamInEngland's picture

Having been used to seeing sponsorship in practically every sport in Britain, after a while it really has no effect on you. Premier League champions Manchester United earn over £14 million a year from AIG sponsorship, PLUS they are sponsored by Nike, Budweiser and a whole host of other companies, making them currently the richest sports team in the world. It would be simply stupid to turn down advertising, especially when you already have the disadvantage of having one of the smallest markets in American sport.

PackersRS's picture

It's a common practice in soccer worldwide. To me, being a soccer fan too, it's an assassination to the traditional jersey, having brands all over the place like a hore. But, specially in south america where teams don't have an owner and are of public domain (like the packers), and where there's no cap limitations, the money they get from it is fundamental to compete professionally. When an owned team does so, it only generates money for the owner, which is, frankly, despicable. But for us it's the only way, with the uncapped year approaching...

PackersRS's picture

"especially when you already have the disadvantage of having one of the smallest markets in American sport."
Actually, AdamInEngland, we're the 2nd most popular franchise in U.S. SPORTS in general. Ahead of the Yankees, Red Sox, Bulls, Celtics, you name it. Only behind the Cowboys. So, it's not a small market, don't matter what ESPN says...

packeraaron's picture

PackersRS - Popularity does not automatically equal dollars. And Adam is right - Green Bay is a small market.
That's why revenue sharing is so important. Look at the list I linked to in the post. The Packers were number 16 out of 32 teams in terms of profitability, even after Lambeau's renovation and the score of events and promotions the Packers do year in and year out. They have steadily slid from the Top Ten to number 13 to out of the top half of clubs in terms of earnings - all within three years. That's a very worrying trend.

bomdad's picture

Quick, someone tell me where the name Packers came from? Old news, been there done that.

packeraaron's picture

Great, great point bomdad.

AdamInEngland's picture

PackersRS- my point was not that Green Bay are unpopular, it was that it is one of the smallest cities to host a franchise in a major sports league, and therefore is a small market. Also I don't get ESPN, I get my info from wikipedia - that way I know for sure that the sources are reliable and aren't open to abuse ;)

bomdad's picture

Adam, the Packers were televised (notice the use of s instead of z) in the 60s when only one game could be on at a time. Since they won often and played in the championships, they got a lot of air time. So there are Packer fans all over the country. I often stop at the Vince Lombardi rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike right outside Giant stadium. 1000 miles away from Green Bay.
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If the Packers built a new stadium and charged PSLs like the large market teams are doing, they probably would piss off most fans, but they would sell out the stadium

PackersRS's picture

I don't get it. We're small town, not small market. We have more market in the U.S. than 30 other teams in the league. If it's been used poorly, than it's a marketing deal. Just look at the ratings of Packers' games. They're astronomic. If that doesn't translate to product selling it's the marketing dep.'s fault..

Jayme's picture

PackersRS - The amount of viewership is huge. In New York city, the population is 8 mil. That means that just within the metropolitan area, there are more than twice as many people who could possibly attend a game as there are in the entire state of Wisconsin. This drives up ticket prices and advertising revenue from the local market that the Giants and Jets can draw from. They can afford to charge hundreds of dollars for a single ticket (when Meadowlands Stadium opens), whereas Packers fans would be outraged if the team itself charged that much.
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On a side note, the team itself should charge that much. They leave over $100 on the table for every single ticket they sell because they balloon in price once the season ticketholders get a hold of them. I don't understand why there was concern that the Packers may have raised ticket prices this year even during the recession. The rise in price wouldn't affect what most fans would actually pay, but rather the profit of the scalpers.

Jayme's picture

Does anyone know where I can get NFL ratings information? I've looked a bit but have been unsuccessful so far.

AdamInEngland's picture

I think Jayme explained my point better than I did. Due to the location and size of the metropolitan area, Green Bay is a small market. This gives the Packers a disadvantage economically relative to teams in larger markets, (Jets/Giants, Dallas, Philly etc.) regardless of how popular and/or successful a team is because of advertising and ticket revenue as Jayme mentioned. How is this not understood?

IPBprez's picture

Okay - someone has to ask it:
"What is this, NASCAR?"
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I personally don't favor this slant. There's no need for it. If the Packers want to take the other tact and get their logo on Lottery tickets, etc.,etc., then I would lean in that direction. If there's a national product that would want to fill that slot and put our Logo on there, then all's the better.
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As far as "other teams building bigger and bigger stadiums, so Green Bay needs to get on that bandwagon" is certainly a stretttcchh. My look at this, is that eventually the fans will look at it and go: What? You're kidding, right?
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There comes a limit to HOW BIG any sports stadium can be, especially with the state of Television and video electronics in general. I FEEL Dallas has stepped over this line. Their BILLION dollar stadium that Dallas the taxpayer's children's children will be paying for does have quite a few citizen extremely peeeeooo'd. THEY ARE NOT happy about it. What's Dallas gonna do in THIS economy, give tickets away to street urchins to make it look like they've sold out? Whether the City is big enough to support it or not, like what's been posted, Scalpers won't be able to inflate the market, the way MSM inflates polling data. The leverage has reached its limit in my mind. The pendulum will start to swing the other way. If it gets too rough, I would not be surprised to see Jerry Jones look for someone else to take the abatross off his hands, running for his texas desert hole.
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It's also a fact that Packerfans abound in larger abundance the Cowboy fans. I spent a week in DC recently, and bartenders told me cowboy fans equaled Redskin fans - yet the most I saw was Steeler fans outnumbered everyone else. There just weren't barely any cowboys jerseys or hats on the street. I must have witnessed 3 dozen steeler jerseys.
BOTTOM LINE - Green Bay is a small town, but the Packers are a NATIONAL, if not Global Market, period.
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Let's ask this question:
If the Media were to give as much free press to Green Bay as they do Dallas, who wins in all markets? It's Green Bay.
Who has more Websites dedicated to their Team? Green Bay. The latest online polling article to discuss it discounted fan websites of which GBP outnumbers Dallas 10-1. Are not the Packers still selling just as much product online as any of the top ten teams? I think they are. Although, I do see a LOT of Favre jerseys on sale CHEAP on EBAY.
Both stances may have merit, but I lean against Dallas being more popular than GBP - even down here in Naptown, I see more GBP jerseys than Cowboys. There's even more Patriot jerseys than theirs.

PackersRS's picture

What IPBPrez said.
I get that we can't charge the same ticket price, or we don't earn the same amount on stadium revenue. BUT with products we could earn A LOT more than other teams, and for what I know (not much), that's the majority of revenue a franchise can have, by selling jerseys, and such, at least more than by stadium revenue. Like Jayme said, the population of NYC is 8mil. But the population of the entire U.S. is 300mil, and there are more people wanting to buy Packer products than NYGiants or Jets products... That's my point.

bomdad's picture

I certainly hope that before the team gets into any kind of financial peril they do stick it to the season ticket holders who have made tens of thousands of dollars off re-sale. The Packers sell out OTHER TEAMS stadiums, and if you call to get tickets for Packers games at other franchises you will find a PREMIUM on Packers game tickets. So its seems everyone is making money off the Packers popularity except the Packers. I know season ticket holders would revolt, but theres 100k people waiting in line to pay more than you folks, and its time to stop the gravy train.

packeraaron's picture

"As far as “other teams building bigger and bigger stadiums, so Green Bay needs to get on that bandwagon” is certainly a stretttcchh."
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It certainly is since that isn't remotely close to what I actually wrote.

Ryeguy812's picture

Bomdad- Can't let you get away with sticking it to season ticket holders. Many of these people were the ones buying tickets back in the dark ages before and after Lombardi, continuing to support a franchise that was floundering in the 50s, 70s and 80s. Additionally, as recent as 5 years ago the team slapped a minimum $1000 dollar franchise fee per seat on season ticket holders.
So your assumption that season ticket holders haven't generated any money for the team is ludicrous.

L.A.'s picture

The Packers are probably as liquid of an asset as there is in pro sports, and it is the LACK of a deep-pockets owner that insures it. This is a for-profit organization that doesn't have to insure that a billionaire gets another couple hundred million a year, or needs to tack on another couple million in value each season for when he decides to sell the franchise at profit.

The fan base is far more reaching than that of "large markets" in New York (any Giants fan clubs in Indiana, IPB? :-) or Los Angeles (that can't even keep an NFL team).

As long as revenue sharing and the television contracts remain in place, the Packers will really have little to worry about, even in a recession. Putting patches on the jerseys isn't a necessity, it's a luxury tax.

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