State of the Pack: What makes this team thrive? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

State of the Pack: What makes this team thrive?

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LAMBEAU FIELD (WAOW) -

How do the Green Bay Packers do it?

They don't have a billionaire owner. and they're not located in a major city.

What makes this team survive—and thrive—in the competitive world of professional sports?

"It's a number of different things," said Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy in an exclusive interview with Newsline 9. "Our history and tradition. No team has anything like it."

Murphy explains why the Packers are so unique.

"We've won more world championships than any other team," he said. "I think our ownership structure is a huge advantage."

That ownership structure differs from every other team. The Packers are owned by 369,000 public shareholders—fans with a stake in the green and gold.

"To me it's one of the best stories in the history of the NFL," said Murphy. "This small little community that rallied together and threw stock sales and other means, saved the team and kept them in Green Bay."

The team just held a stock sale last year—just one of five ever. That raised $64 million for renovations to Lambeau Field.

But Murphy says that sale was probably the last for a while.

"I would say probably, every 15 years or so," he said.

The Packers made a lot of money last year in addition to the stock sale—some $300 million, Murphy said.

"We were 10th out of the 32 teams in total revenue, and that's something that we're very proud of," said Murphy.

But when times get tight, there's no one owner with deep pockets to turn to. So, the team relies on a special pot of money called the Packers Preservation Fund.

"Money set aside to make sure that the Packers have resources available if we encounter difficult times," said Murphy.

The team enjoys a lot of fan enthusiasm and support, especially in 2011 when the Packers won the Super Bowl. But since then, the team has been eliminated from the playoffs each year.

"Especially, quite honestly, last year going 15-1, having the number one seed, losing that first game was extremely disappointing," said Murphy. He says the number of injuries this season was tough to deal with. But he says the team is focused on moving on and up.

"We know what we have to do to advance further and get back to being Super Bowl champion," said Murphy.

But Murphy says the team is doing a lot off the field as well to improve the Packers experience. One of those things is renovating the atrium at Lambeau Field. Murphy says that will help make the stadium a tourist destination 365 days a year.

"This is an opportunity to really refresh it," he said.

That includes jazzing up the pro shop, the restaurant, and the Hall of Fame.

"Particularly in the Hall of Fame, much more interactive, much more use of digital displays, things of that nature, that I think will be a big improvement," said Murphy.

He says the team is constantly looking for ways to improve the area around Lambeau Field, helping fans enjoy the Packers experience.

"All with an eye towards, you know, bringing more visitors into this community," said Murphy.

All signs point to continued enthusiasm for the Packers. Murphy says the waiting list for season tickets is now at more than 100,000. Fans continue to bleed green and gold. And, of course, the team hopes its returning stars will help propel the Packers back to the big game.

"We're positioned very well to have success into the future," said Murphy.

And that's the state of the pack.

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