GREEN BAY, Wis. – The cheese is going fast.
The NFL's only publicly owned team said Thursday that it sold 185,000 shares in the first 48 hours of a stock sale that began Tuesday morning. That's almost three-fourths of the 250,000 shares made available in the fifth stock offering in team history.
The team set a Feb. 29 deadline for the sale, but at the current rate all available stock will be gone long before that as fans — the famous cheeseheads — snap up shares.
"The Packers are tremendously appreciative of the support we've received from our fans," said Mark Murphy, Packers president and CEO.
The team is selling shares for $250 each, plus a $25 handling fee. As of Thursday, the Packers have raised about $43 million, which will go toward a $143 million expansion of Lambeau Field. Plans call for adding 6,700 additional seats, new high-definition video screens and a new entrance by 2013.
"The expansion will enhance the stadium experience for fans, increase our team's home-field advantage and ensures that Lambeau Field continues be a source of pride for fans everywhere," Murphy said. "We're humbled by the response from our fans and their desire to help the Packers achieve long-term success."
The shares went on sale at packers.com. Stock can only be purchased by individuals, not businesses, and there's a 200-share cap, a figure that includes any stock purchased during the last sale in 1997.
The stock isn't an investment in the traditional sense: Its value doesn't increase, there are no dividends, it has virtually no re-sale value and it won't give buyers a leg up on the 93,000 people on the waiting list for season tickets.
What buyers get is a piece of paper declaring them a team owner, voting rights and the right to attend the annual stockholder meeting at Lambeau each summer before training camp. They also get access to a special line of shareholder apparel.
Newly purchased shares can be given as gifts. However, once ownership is established, a share can only be transferred within immediate family.
The fast pace of sales shows just how popular the team is even though the national economy continues to struggle. It doesn't hurt that Christmas is only a few weeks off, the Packers are riding a 12-0 record with four regular-season games to go and the team is the defending Super Bowl champion.