The 2021 NFL season has been a rollercoaster of emotions for Green Bay Packers fans. In the summer, it was unknown whether franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be returning to the team. Then, he also recently drew controversy over his COVID-19 vaccination status.
Even with all that news, the Packers sit 8-3 as one of the top teams in the NFC.
Amidst all of this fanfare, Green Bay, the only publically owned American professional sports team in the major four leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), recently released its sixth stock offering of 300,000 shares in the organization for $300 per share.
Jack Settleman, founder of SnapBack Sports and frequent contributor to The Game Day, bought a share.
Though he used dollars to hop in, this marks a noteworthy example of how the cultures of NFT and cryptocurrency aim to reshape the sports world.
Buying Share Of Packers ‘For The Content’
All the money raised with these purchases will reportedly go toward construction projects at Lambeau Field. The Packers expect to raise a total of $90 million if all shares are sold. (As of Nov. 22, they’ve sold 126,600 shares.)
Settleman, an investor in Bitcoin, TopShot, sports cards, and other ventures including NFT metaverse Knights of Degen, sees the purchase of this stock as a different opportunity. “My purchase of the Packers stock … it kind of sends a message to the traditional world,” he said.
This selling of the Packers shares has been met with mixed reactions from fans, with some buying in and others feeling like it’s a scam. Even Settleman said on Twitter that he merely bought it “For the Content play" and told us it was for “giggles."
— Happy Jack Settleman ⚔️ (@jacksettleman) November 17, 2021
“The traditional world is now calling out the Packers and saying ‘you just scammed your fans,'" Settleman said. “You just sold $90 million of stock that is worthless, it can’t go up in value, and you can take it back at any time. We just made a donation.”
“What crypto and decentralization have done is said, ‘hey, you can own a team.’ Now, you’re not going to be the one on ESPN who’s speaking for the team, but you can feel a part of the team. It feels like now with Web 3.0 and decentralization, I can actually own a small sliver and that could appreciate, I can enjoy benefits from it, I can get season tickets.”
The stock’s fine print, however, doesn’t reveal many benefits that usually come with buying stock in a professional sports organization.
The team has no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase Packers stock. Owners also will not make a profit or receive a dividend, tax deduction, or any other economic benefits.
Even while investing in the team with old-world money, Settleman doesn’t envision the Packers doing well in a potentially post-Rodgers world.
“Based on the 60 minutes we watched Jordan Love play against the Chiefs, I don’t know if they have their quarterback [to eventually replace Rodgers] quite yet,” Settleman said. “You remove Rodgers, any injuries in between showed negatives. I think it could turn into a really bad situation and the two quarterbacks that they’ve had for the past two decades might’ve been holding them up.”
The Modern Sports Fan’s Voice
Settleman believes the National Football League might be in trouble if it continues to blindly rely on its history and fan loyalty instead of looking to address its problems in the eyes of modern sports fans.
“I’ve been watching the NFL recently, and the product on the field is not great,” Settleman said. “If you’re sitting at home from 1 to 4 p.m., and I told you that you don’t have a bet on the game, you don’t have a fantasy player, you just have to watch Jaguars-Bengals, and you can’t go on your phone, that is a miserable viewing experience.”
Outside of the Packers, opportunities may prove difficult for similar NFT-to-NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL breakthroughs in years to come.
However, even if the new wave of crypto-centric sports fans won’t consistently get this type of access and investment, sports leagues and team owners/governors can’t ignore how the NFT and crypto investor class can eventually have a bigger say in how the public perceives sports.
Athletes are getting paid in crypto. Leagues are trying to hop on the NFT train, to varying degrees of success and brand authenticity.
So even while he criticizes the direction of his latest partial asset, Settleman recognizes that the behemoths will adapt and grow. If more teams wind up offering chances to buy shares, pounce.
“Sports franchises, in general, will continue to appreciate,” Settleman said. “That’s typically what they do. There’s just more money going around.”