BOISE, Idaho -- The Boise State Athletic Department is searching for fans willing to shell out $100 to own a piece of Bronco sports -- or at least sort of.
Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier says the Western Athletic Conference school has formed a nonprofit corporation, appointed a 12-person board to oversee it and is seeking shareholders willing to invest in the future of Boise State teams and facilities.
Shareholders will get a stock certificate, but no financial rewards for investing in Boise State Broncos Inc., though shareholders will be able to vote during board elections at annual shareholder meetings.
Borrowing a page from the playbook of the NFL's Green Bay Packers, Bleymaier says the stock sale is designed to capitalize on the enthusiasm of Bronco fans to raise $20 million to renovate basketball locker rooms, build a new women's swimming complex and add new seats to Bronco Stadium, the blue-turfed home of the sixth-ranked Boise State football team.
The Packers, the NFL's only publicly owned franchise, raised nearly $24 million by selling more than 105,000 new shares in the team in 1997.
"This program worked tremendously for the Green Bay Packers, and we think it can work for us," Bleymaier said. "For us to compete at the level we are now, and to stay at this level, it's going to take passion on the part of the community.
"If we are to continue the success we are enjoying right now, we must generate new revenue. We want people to buy shares in Boise State athletics," he said.
So far, the athletic department has sold more than 1,200 shares, the majority bought by the board members.
Bleymaier said the board will be in charge of how money raised from the stock offering will be spent. He said the board understands and is committed to the top capital projects already on the athletic department's wish list. Money raised in the program will not be diverted into the athletic department's $27 million annual budget, he said.
"We have simply got to find ways to raise some serious money ... if you want to keep the trend lines going in the direction of what's been going on here," said Jon Miller, a longtime Bronco booster and member of the new Boise State Broncos Inc. board of directors.
The appeal for new revenue comes more than a year after a $37 million remodel of Bronco Stadium, a project that added a new press box, luxury suites and club seating.