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How to buy shares in a football club
A simple guide to buying shares in your favourite football team.
How to buy shares in a football club
A simple guide to buying shares in your favourite football team
After the failed attempt to create a European Super League (ESL), it’s understandable to see why fans of the continent’s largest football clubs may feel very detached from what is going on right now.
However while football club ownership is typically the domain of Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern sheiks, there is a way for fans to feel more aligned with the club – by investing in it. This guide will explain how to invest in different football clubs across Europe and the risks and rewards of doing so.
Can you buy shares in football clubs?
You can, but crucially not all of them. Only those clubs that are listed as public limited companies (PLCs) are available on the stock market for you to buy shares in. 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||England||Premier League|
|Rangers FC||Scotland||Scottish Premiership|
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 at a value of $4.2 billion (around £2.97 billion), Manchester United is currently ranked fourth in the list of the most valuable football clubs, compiled by Forbes.
Riding high after going the season unbeaten and winning the league title for the first time in 10 years, Rangers is continuing to rebuild its reputation having been liquidated in 2012 and subsequently being relegated to the lowest tier of Scottish football as a result.
However because Rangers is an unlisted security, buying shares in it is less straightforward than buying shares in a football club listed on a stock exchange.
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.
Unlike rivals Rangers, because Celtic is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) investing in the famous green and white hoops is much simpler.
There are few clubs in Europe that are as recognisable 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.
AS Roma – or the Giallorossi (yellow and reds) – have won three Serie A titles alongside nine Coppa Italias and are a mainstay of Italian football. Majority owned by the Friedkin Group, on April 13, 2021, Forbes valued Roma at $548 million (around £397 million), which placed it as 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 nine Supercoppa titles. Majority-owned by the Agnellli family, with a value of $1.95 billion it is currently ranked 11th in the global rich list, compiled by Forbes.
Like AS Roma, the Turin-giant is listed on the Milan stock exchange.
Risks of buying shares in a football club
When it comes to investing, the share price of listed football clubs should in theory be driven by the same as any other share; future profit outlook, as well as supply and demand.
While it is also suggested that factors such as player transfers, team financials, sponsorships can also impact a team’s share price, for Nick Train, a fund manager at Lindsell Train Limited, said short term performance on the field is not a major concern as an investor.
“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 three unique franchises; Juventus, Manchester United and Celtic, which all could be readily described as national icons.”
While the long-term consequences of the Covid crisis on football clubs is still unknown, for investors such as Train, the most important element of investing in the world’s largest sports franchises is trying to shut out the noise.
Train adopts what is known as a long-term investment approach. This means, when he buys a company, he is prepared to wade out any short-term market movements – commonly known as volatility – and take a three-year view, or more. As a result, achievements on the pitch and recent scandals, such as the ESL, do not overly influence his decision to buy or sell. This is something he says all investors should bear in mind when considering buying a football club stake.
But Ben Yearsley, an investment consultant at Fairview Investing, said investors must accept they lack any sort of decision-making power when it comes to investing in clubs with majority shareholders, such as 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 are buying real shares in a real company. Any investment carries the risk of loss, alongside the 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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