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Investing in the NFL: Packers sell (some weird type of) stock

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versus the Dow Jones Industrials

For those of you thinking about investing in an NFL franchise, you have your chance.  The Green Bay Packers are the only publicly traded team in the NFL and their current stock offering is off to a brisk start.

Packers fans can buy stock in the only publicly owned U.S. sports franchise at $250 a share until Feb. 29. The sale got under way two days ago and raised $400,000 in the first 11 minutes for the team, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

According to Bloomberg’s Dave Wilson

The current sale is the first since 1997, when the stock fetched $200 a share. Earlier sales were made in 1950 and 1935, as well as 1923. The prices depicted in the chart are adjusted for a 1,000-for-1 split, completed before the 1997 sale.

Owners of Packers shares can only transfer them to members of their immediate family, according to the sale’s prospectus. The team can buy back any shares that change hands improperly for 2.5 cents each, or 1/10,000th of the current sale price.

The Packers are organized as a non-profit company, so shareholders aren’t entitled to dividends on their investment or proceeds from a sale of the team. The prospectus adds this warning: “It is virtually impossible for anyone to realize a profit on a purchase of Common Stock.”

Sounds like a strange investment — investing in the Packers is like sinking money in a non-profit, rent-controlled apartment that you’re forced to let your friends stay in for free.

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