Finances are important to football in GB

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- You might have read that the Green Bay Packers had another profitable year off the field, netting $25.6 million in profits.

And you might look at it and say, who cares? Given that the shares of stock held by the public are essentially worthless, that's a reasonable response.

But there's a correlation -- whether direct or indirect -- to the business side of things and what happens on the field in the NFL's smallest city.

That's why it's always interesting to look at the team's financial report, which was released on Thursday. As the only publicly held team in the NFL, the Packers are the only club that divulges key financial information. A detailed report will be mailed to stockholders next week.

The important thing to know is that as long as the business side of the operation is in good shape, something president Mark Murphy is in charge of, then general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy should be able to work in an environment conducive to winning football games.

"I think it's crucial," Murphy said Thursday. "I think with the long-term collective bargaining agreement and some of the stability there, I think that helps everybody. But our goal is to give Ted and everybody in football the resources that they need to be competitive. I can say with great confidence that is not an issue at all.

"We will give them everything needed to be competitive. It's not only salaries. You look at the football facilities. To be able to invest the way we did last year -- I think we've always had good facilities -- but the changes we made and the improvements and the new facilities ensure that we continue to stay in the upper tier of the league."

In November, the Packers added an indoor practice field connected to the stadium that Murphy said could be expanded to a full-fledged practice area someday if the Don Hutson Center ever became outdated. The Packers also upgraded their locker room, weight room, training and nutrition areas.

Expanding the stadium, which has been ongoing for several years, in order to enhance the fan experience allows the Packers to add revenue to expand their football facilities. So does the NFL's G-4 Stadium Loan program, which allows teams to borrow money from the league to improve facilities. Murphy said nearly half the teams in the league have taken advantage of that program.

Of course, on-field football success also helps things on the business side.

"The best marketers are a winning team," Murphy said. "You can do all you want [but] if a team's not having success … I think it all works hand-in-hand. One of the things we've been really proud of is the good working relationship with football and administration. I think [vice president of football administration] Russ Ball has been really helpful in that regard. He's kind of the person who has a foot in both football and administration."