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Population: 104,057 + 1 NFL Team

October 23, 2014

How Green Bay, the smallest American city with a pro sports franchise, got and kept a pro sports franchise. Here is a bit of Green Bay Packers history. 

Green Bay Packers HistoryWhen the NFL formed in the 1920s, football was not the nationally beloved institution it is today. It was regionally popular, and really only at the college level, in the northeast and upper Midwest.

The first NFL teams were all from the biggest population centers in those regions. Among them were the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Columbus Panhandles, Muncie Flyers, Toledo Maroons, and Rock Island Independents. Few of those teams remain. The Decatur Staleys later became the Chicago Bears, but the longest-lasting of those early “small town teams” is the Green Bay Packers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, which, relative to most other early NFL cities, is pretty large, with a population of more than 100,000.

All the other early teams folded or moved to bigger cities, particularly after the arrival of radio and TV. Media broadcasts of games spread the popularity of football, and the demand for teams in every corner of the nation. But the Packers stayed put, probably because of one of the most tenacious, devoted fan bases in all of sports. In fact, the Packers are the only major sports franchise not owned by a billionaire, or a consortium of rich people. It’s own by the Green Bay Packers, Inc., which has around 364,000 shareholders. In other words, the team is owned by the fans. The team has sold out every home game since 1959.

For more football trivia read Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Sports Spectacular.

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October 23, 2014 1:25 pm

Go Pack!!!! *FIRST*

October 23, 2014 1:40 pm

I live near Green Bay…. We LOVE our Packers! All over the state on game day, stores empty, roads are bare.. everyone is either home or at a Packer party!! We bleed green and gold!!!

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