From small-town team to Packers planet
Stephen O'Brien, Packers contributor
CREATED Sep. 21, 2013
Sports aren’t what they used to be. This isn’t a judgment, just a reality.
When it all began, sports were about rallying a team of people together from the community and challenging a rival team from another town.
The local team was as good as the men or women that lived there, like it was when Curly Lambeau founded the Green Bay Packers in 1919.
These players weren’t paid for their dedication, they played for the love of the game and perhaps the social aspect of being part of the community team.
Now, sports are big business.
You may not find a single player on a sports team that actually came from that area.
They play for the love of the game, but that love is sometimes postponed during the offseason and a hold out takes place till they get paid more to enable their love to return.
Just as sports teams have evolved, so have fans.
A supporter used to be someone from the town, a person with a vested interest in the team.
Maybe a brother, cousin, father or son played for the team and they helped wash his jersey before the big game. Now, fans are far reaching, sometimes from oceans away, all with an equal claim on the franchise.
With the likes of social media, syndication of tv stations showing the game, NFL game pass and international series games to name a few, the NFL have a strategy to expand the game.
This means that teams now have to market themselves to a wider fan base with a unique selling point to attract fans.
This uniqueness is exactly why the Green Bay Packers are one of the most popular franchises outside of America.
As mentioned above, teams used to be local, small community ventures.
This is precisely what Green Bay is today. Green Bay is a small community of passionate, welcoming, friendly fans who idolize their team as if they are family.
When Brett Favre struggled with addiction, he laid it all out to the fans and they supported his recovery whole heartedly.
When Donald Driver hung up his cleats, the community rallied together and honored the living legend with a statue and a street name to show their gratitude.
This movement is definitely something I want to be a part of and I am not alone.
The Green Bay Packers are not only loved by the people, but owned by the people. They are the only NFL franchise that is publicly owned.
There is a whole community of people who call themselves owners with a share certificated hanging on the walls.
They do not receive a dividend, they can’t sell the shares for profit, they do not expect anything back apart from 100% commitment on the field.
No other franchise has this connection with its fan base and every stock release has been a roaring success with people all over the word wanting to be a part of the Packers history.
The Packers are an institution. One of the oldest franchises in the NFL, the organization has some stories to tell. From how they got their name to the bruising rivalry with the Bears, the Packers are a noble force.
One of the best coaches in the world of sports has his name emblazoned on the Super Bowl trophy and that man made his mark as the coach and face of the Green Bay Packers.
In my opinion, no other franchise has such a storied history and it is this depth of character that makes the Green Bay Packers so much more than a football team.
As silly as it sounds, most people outside an area or country can be drawn to a team by small things.
Whether it is because they like one player on the team, are attracted to another or simply like the color of their jerseys, everyone finds a reason to pay attention.
It is the deeper details that make that person a fan and it is a storied past that turn them into a lifelong follower.
In recent history, the Packers dominance on the field has helped people pay attention to the franchise.
It is the likes of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers that have put the Packers in a position to capture the affection of sports lovers all over the world.
But it is not Favre or Rodgers that can keep them there. Aaron Rodgers grabs their attention, Vince Lombardi deepens their affections and Curly Lambeau makes them a fan.