February 8, 2011

publicly owned pro sports teams

Posted in investing tagged , at 8:25 pm by weiszguy

A friend of mine was bragging recently about his favorite football team, the Packers, which is publicly owned.  Being publicly owned is a huge advantage over private ownership, because the team isn’t as susceptible to the whims of the owner.

I’ve never heard of a publicly owned team before, so I went to check it out.  From the blurb on Google Finance, I found out that “shares [of the Packers] do not increase in value nor pay dividends, and can only be sold back to the team.”  Kind of curious.  Share prices that don’t fluctuate, don’t pay dividends, and can’t be sold?  I give the team some money and I get nothing for it?

On the Packers website, I learned that there have only been four offerings of shares in the history of the team, and there is no way to buy in at any other time but the offerings.

None of this makes any sense.

But what if we had actual, publicly-owned, publicly-traded sports teams?  You could buy and sell shares of the teams on the open market, and the share price would fluctuate with supply and demand.  Each team could potentially pay dividends, or not, just like any other public company, whose board decides dividends based on the best interests of the shareholders.

Different teams would have different share prices, of course.  Buying a share of the Green Bay Packers in the week before their Super Bowl appearance would probably cost a small fortune.  Shares of the Carolina Panthers, after a somewhat underwhelming 2-14 season, could be had for a song.

Now all we need is to convince Jerry Jones to go public.