The Green Bay Packers are as much a part of NFL history as any team could possibly be. And for Packers Nation, the age of championships is alive and kicking in the team that won Super Bowl XLV and going in to Week 7 of the NFL season is still standing strong to defend that title.
Mark Murphy played safety for seven years in the NFL, all with the Washington Redskins, and was a member of the Super Bowl XVII champs. After graduating in 1988 with a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, he served as the athletic director at Colgate University until 2003, was AD at Northwestern University.
During the 2007 NFL season he was named president and CEO of the Packers.
Big Lead Sports spoke with Murphy, who is on the cover of the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek‘s special sports issue.
Big Lead Sports: Have their been any big surprises on the business side even you didn’t expect?
Mike Murphy: The biggest surprise for me has been the extent of how busy the Packers Hall of Fame and Stadium Tours have been. It picked up dramatically since the Super Bowl, which we expected, but it really hasn’t slowed down. The Packers Pro Shop traffic and business has been at high level, too, even with state of the economy.
BLS: Do you think there is a limitless supply of football fans who would like a piece of the team?
MM: The Packers story is the most unique in all of sports. Being a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers is a great source of pride. We have had many people ask who weren’t involved in our offering in 1997-98. We’ve received NFL support, and we continue to work toward another offering.
BLS: How does the connection between the Redskins fans and their players when you were there compare to the connection that Packers fans have with their team today?
MM: In my mind, there’s no comparison. The loyalty and passion of Packers fans is at a much higher level. I attribute a lot of that to the ownership structure.
MM: To continue to improve upon our fan experience and do it in a way where our tickets can remain affordable. We’re consistently rated as the best game-day experience in all of sports. We want to build on that and make it better.
BLS: What is the one biggest challenge you have as team president?
MM: Long term, greatest challenge is ensuring to continue to provide football operations the resources they need to be competitive. Another challenge is to ensure the fan experience remains first rate, particularly on game day. TV is an excellent way to watch a game, and we need to make sure Lambeau Field remains the electric atmosphere it is today. That’s why we’re installing new video boards and sound system, and expanding the stadium with some exciting new seating options and amenities.