In 1923, the Green Bay Packers became the first and only major American sports franchise to not be owned by a wealthy individual or mega corporation, but by the community.

Since that first stock sale more than 90 years ago, the Green Bay Packers Corporation has been a publicly owned non-profit. Four subsequent stock offerings in 1935, 1950, 1997, and 2011 have swelled the owner base to more than 360,000 individual shareholders.

The Pack: A 90 Year Case Study

Having endured a lifelong membership of pain and agony as a participant in the Detroit Lions fan club, I know better than most about sports team allegiances—I’d even argue that the struggles of my beloved hometown NFL franchise offers me unique clarity and expertise on the measure of true fandom. It is through this lens and from first hand observation of our bitter, flannel wearing rivals, that I have discovered an undeniable fact:

The Green Bay Packers fan base, or the “The Pack”, is the greatest in all of American Professional sports. And that’s not purely an opinion.

In what can only be described as a true testament to the power of community ownership–that or the desire of Wisconsinites to publicly don oversized, cheese wedge hats—the Green Bay Packers fan base can claim to have:

• The longest home sellout streak in the history of major American professional sports, despite being in the smallest metro market of any professional sports franchise.

• The largest season ticket waiting list in all of sports at 81,000 names and growing. The estimated wait time for Green Bay Packers season tickets is a staggering 30 years.

• A Green Bay Packers fan bar in every major American city.

• More world championships than any other NFL franchise.

The Power of Community Centric Investing

On paper, becoming a Green Bay Packers shareholder isn’t a great investment. The shares pay no dividends, can’t be resold, lose almost all value after purchase, are only transferrable to immediate family members, and don’t appreciate in value.

Despite little direct return on investment, to the average Packers fan, the benefit of being directly involved in one of the NFL’s most storied franchises is obvious. The opportunity to invest in an organization that is a catalyst for the local economy and an intense source of pride is simply too good to pass up, regardless of the lack of dollars in, dollars out value.

Realizing the impact of such a community centric investment, what if a developer could also offer a direct return on investment to each participating community member?

A New Model

Until recently, the opportunity to participate in similar community driven investments has been difficult for the majority of non-accredited investors in this country.

Fortunately, regulatory mechanisms provided by federal and state lawmakers, such as Regulation A, the JOBS Act, or the Michigan Crowdfunding Bill, have been harnessed by the power of the technology and social platform, Fundrise, to create a powerful new tool for democratized real estate investment—one that will undoubtedly make champions of the real estate developers who are able realize the benefits of partnering with the greater community.

Otherwise, they’ll end up like my Lions.

—By Marc Hudson

Software Engineer and Up-and-Coming Real Estate Developer

Marc Hudson is a user interface engineer and corporate entrepreneur for Quicken Loans in Detroit. He works with fellow team members at Quicken Loans and Bedrock Real Estate Services to execute narrative transforming ideas that will power Detroit’s resurgence as a great American city. He is also the co-founder of several tech startups, including LandscapingScene.com, Hudson Digital, and Care Chat.”