There is reality. Then, there is virtual reality. And then, there is the Green Bay Packers reality. In the modern world of sports where giant franchises all over the globe are ruled by billionaires, oil magnates and other moguls. People think that this is the recipe for success. If you spent more money than the other teams then you have a better chance of winning.
Well, that's not exactly right. For sure if you are capable of buying the best players and coaches you increase your chances. But life rarely is a one way road.
In tiny Green Bay, Wisconsin, they do it in a unique way. Their way. The Packers way.
We don't have a rich owner but we are the richest team in the world. because WE own our franchise. The Packers are the only community-owned franchise in the world of American professional sports -probably they are the only pro team globally that has this rare structure.
There are 5,011,557 shares held by 360,584 stockholders. No one is allowed to hold more than 200,000 shares, or approximately 4% of the total shares.
Green Bay Packers, Inc., is governed by a seven-member Executive Committee elected from a 45-member board of directors. It consists of a President, Vice President, a Treasurer, a Secretary and three members-at-large; only the president is compensated. Responsibilities include directing corporate management, approving major capital expenditures, establishing broad policy, and monitoring management performance.
So, practically nobody can take control of the franchise and decide for himself. Everything regarding the team is collectively agreed. Isn't that the epitome of democracy?
Although they are based in the smallest city for any professional league, the Packers have a huge fan base -not only in Wisconsin or the Midwest but all over America and the world.
The team receives a lot from the community but it also gives a ton back. The team created the Green Bay Packers Foundation in December 1986. It assists in a wide variety of activities and programs benefiting education, civil affairs, health services, human services and youth-related programs.
Those are facts, but even the most accurate of them cannot describe the bond between the Packers and their fans.
Me, for example, I have never been in Green Bay. I have never had the pleasure to watch them perform live. Heck, I live in Greece and I should support one of our soccer teams. But life takes unexpected routes, like the ones our wide receivers sometimes take to surprise the opposing defenses.
I fell in love with them in the 90's and since then, they are my team. Yes, we Packers fans, can call them “our” team. We have every right to do that because it is the truth.So, with all do respect to other great franchise in sports, to support the Green Bay Packers is a once in a lifetime experience.
Of course there are more attractive places in the NFL for a player to dedicate his talent and his career. But where in the world would he find the true welcome and love that Packers fans give to our heroes?