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Want to invest in European soccer? Here’s how to buy football club stocks plus the risks and rewards of doing so.
You can only buy stocks in football clubs that are listed on a stock exchange. You can see a full list of available football teams in the table below. Currently, only one team from the English leagues is listed on the stock exchange for public trading: Manchester United. Arsenal shares are listed on a specialist exchange and are hard to get.
|Manchester United (NYSE: MANU)||England||Premier League||Buy on Interactive Brokers|
|Celtic (LSE: CCP)||Scotland||Scottish Premiership||Buy on Interactive Brokers|
|Borussia Dortmund (XETRA: BVB)||Germany||Bundesliga||Buy on Interactive Brokers|
|AS Roma (MTA: ASR, OTC Markets: ASRAF)||Italy||Serie||Buy on Interactive Brokers|
|Juventus (MTA: JUVE, OTC Markets: JVTSF)||Italy||Serie A||Buy on Interactive Brokers|
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Manchester United’s on-the-field success has enabled it to become one of the most supported football teams on the planet—and one of the richest. Majority-owned by the Glazer Family and valued at $4.6 billion USD, Manchester United is currently ranked 4th in Forbes’ list of the most valuable football clubs.
Arch-rivals to Rangers, Celtic is one of the most successful clubs in Scotland having won the Scottish league championship an impressive 51 times. With a valuation of £94m Celtic, was ranked 48th in the list of most valuable football brands by Brand Finance in July 2020. The largest shareholder is Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, who effectively has control of the club.
There are few clubs in Europe that are as recognizable as Borussia Dortmund, Germany’s second most successful team. It also became the first and only German club to be publicly traded on the stock market in the first year of the millennium. The club is listed under the name Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien.
AS Roma—or the Giallorossi (yellow and reds)—have won 3 Serie A titles alongside 9 Coppa Italias and are a mainstay of Italian football. Majority owned by the Friedkin Group, Forbes valued Roma at $548 million USD (around £397 million) as of April 2021, making it the 17th most valuable club in the world. AS Roma is listed on the Milan stock exchange.
Juventus is Italy’s most successful club, having won a record 36 official league titles (Scudetto), 14 Coppa Italia titles and 9 Supercoppa titles. Majority-owned by the Agnellli family and valued at $1.95 billion USD, it’s currently ranked 11th in Forbes’ global rich list.
For many fans, football club stocks are more of a novelty than an investment, providing another way to support their favourite teams. While not unheard of, you wouldn’t typically invest in a rival team to the one you support—you’re almost guaranteed a pie in the face if you rock up at a Liverpool game and announce you’ve got Manchester United stock.
There’s no saying how stocks are going to perform, as different football clubs have had vastly different results over the last 5 years, as of the time of writing.
For example, Manchester United has gained just 4.47% in value in the last 5 years—you could’ve gotten similar results with a savings account. Meanwhile, Juventus has seen gains of 156.25% in the last 5 years. Clubs have lost money, too—Borussia Dortmund stock has gone down 14% in 5 years, while AS Roma stock has gone down 9.76%.
As always, past performance doesn’t indicate future results. Carefully look into any football club’s financials before you invest.
You can only buy stock in football clubs that are publicly traded. If a team is still privately owned, you won’t be able to buy stock in it. However, you could invest in a club’s sponsors, or you could invest in a club’s parent company, assuming it’s publicly traded.
When it comes to investing, the stock price of listed football clubs should, in theory, be driven by the same factors as any other stock like future profit outlook as well as supply and demand.
Factors such as player transfers, team financials and sponsorships can impact a team’s stock price. But, for Lindsell Train Limited fund manager Nick Train, short-term performance on the field isn’t a major investment concern.
“The allure to us of live sports franchises is the loyal fan base that is more valued by advertisers than almost any other entertainment medium,” said Train. “Out of a universe of 12 quoted soccer clubs we own 3 unique franchises: Juventus, Manchester United and Celtic, which all could be readily described as national icons.”
While the long-term consequences of COVID-19 on football clubs is still unknown, for investors like Train, shutting out the noise is the most important element of investing in the world’s largest sports franchises.
Train adopts what is known as a long-term investment approach. When he buys a company, he’s prepared to wade out any short-term market movements (“volatility”) and take a view of 3+ years. So, team performance and recent scandals, such as the European Super League (ESL), don’t overly influence his decision to buy or sell. He says all investors should bear this in mind when considering buying into a football club.
Ben Yearsley, an investment consultant at Fairview Investing, said investors must accept that they lack any sort of decision-making power as investors in clubs with majority shareholders, like Manchester United.
“Despite being listed, majority owners have almost total control due to the size of their shareholding,” he added. This lack of control was evident during the ESL proposal, which resulted in widespread fan protests.
While the thought of investing in a football club might seem a fun idea, these are not novelty shares. You’re buying real stock in a real company. Any investment carries the risk of loss alongside potential rewards.
However, like watching the beautiful game, investing in football clubs offers something unique and valuable for investors. It might not quite match a stoppage time winner. But for those willing to be patient, the rewards might prove to be just as exciting.
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