While fans of sporting teams around the world invest their time and emotional energy in the fortunes on their club, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to directly invest.

As businesses go, sporting teams aren’t usually great ones.

They only really have a few sources of income, they’re by nature in hyper-competitive markets, and their fortunes can wax and wane as they do on the field of play.

But that hasn’t stopped football teams around the world from giving punters the chance to directly invest in their fortunes beyond buying a matchday ticket.

We’ve had a look at some of the sporting teams that offered shares, and why they’ve done so.

Brisbane Broncos

Did you know that you can invest in the Brisbane Broncos (ASX:BBL)?

Its four main sources of revenue are sponsorship, corporate sales, merchandise, and ticketing — which all have the potential to rise or fall depending on the fortunes of the team on the field.

It’s also limited by its Brisbane-centric footprint meaning there’s no real opportunities for international expansion — one of the key drivers of other types of businesses.

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Ajax Amsterdam

If you’ve been enamoured with Ajax’s Champions League run to date, you can put your money where your mouth is by throwing a few dollars at AJAX on the Euronext exchange.

Its main sources of revenue are, as expected, merchandise, the sale of media rights, and matchday income.

However, it’s expected to make quite a few dollars in the European summer as the big clubs of Europe come calling for its talented juniors.

It’s important to note that about 70 percent of the register is held by the club, meaning everyday investors only have access to a 30 percent free float.

Celtic FC

You can invest in Scotland’s biggest club (sorry, Rangers fans) by heading to the London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) Alternative Investment Market (AIM) for a slice of AIM:CCP.

It’s had a good few years as its main domestic rivals Rangers went into administration and had to work its way up from the lower divisions (there’s a debate as to whether Rangers are actually Rangers now but that’s a whole other kettle of fish).

Its managed to grow revenue from £64.74 million ($A118.64 million) in the 2014 financial year to £101.57 million in the 2018 financial year.

Borussia Dortmund

For slightly more than the price of Bratwurst and Beer at Signal Iduna Park, you can invest in one of Germany’s glamour clubs.

The club first went public in 2000 and it’s been riding a rollercoaster ever since.

It went from being effectively bailed out by rival club Bayern Munich in 2003 with a €2 million bridging loan to playing them in the Champions League Final in 2003.

But its public listing had a strange and potentially deadly side effect, with the club’s bus targeted in an explosive attack carried out by a perpetrator hoping the attack would trigger a fall in the share price – allowing him to short the stock.

READ: Where to invest during lean times, where to invest during a boom

Green Bay Packers

If you’re long on cheeseheads, an investment in the Green Bay Packers might be up your alley– although there’s no prospect of a dividend. Ever.

How does that work?

The Green Bay Packers have effectively been offering ‘stock’ in the NFL team since 1923 when it became a public non-profit organisation — although there have only ever been five stock offerings since that time.

While you can’t sell the share and, there’s no prospect of a dividend — it does give fans a sense of ownership in the team — although there is no *real* ownership.

So, what do you get? For US$250 you get special merchandise and an invitation to the company’s AGM at spiritual home Lambeau Field — where you get a say in voting for the team’s board.

We’ve included it here because while it’s not publicly listed, it’s the sort of thing a lot of sporting teams such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have gotten into to offer fans ownership in the club — however tokenistic that may be.

Juventus

The Old Lady of Italian football has been trading on the Italian Stock Exchange as BIT:JUVE, joining fellow Italian clubs AS Roma and Lazio as public companies.

It listed at the end of 2001 and its performance on the market was…not great.

It listed at €1.29 and had sunk down to €0.31 as recently as February 2017 — but a doubling of efforts in marketing (including a logo change and the not-insignificant signing of Christiano Ronaldo) has seen it climb to near its IPO levels.

Interestingly, being busted down to the second division after match-fixing in 2006 didn’t actually have that much impact on the share price (it was already sliding) — go figure.

Manchester United

They may play in the Theatre of Dreams but in 2012 Manchester United entered the…Stock Exchange of Dreams?

It raised about $233 million giving it an initial valuation of $2.3 billion — and since that time it’s steadily increased in value to have a market cap of $3.24 billion (at the time of writing).

However, the 2012 listing wasn’t the only time it was on the market — with the team listing from 1990 to 2005, ironically being taken off the market by the same management team which decided to put them back on.

It listed in 2012 to reduce debt and it chose New York because it could offer a voting structure a London listing could not (you can offer Class A and B shares in the US but not the UK).

The company is also incorporated in the Cayman Island — likely because of its more than generous tax structure.

Why are most of these soccer/football teams?

A lot of the clubs that choose to publicly list are doing so in an attempt to engage international investors, and therefore open up a new pool of capital.

Teams such as Juventus, Dortmund, and Celtic know that there is limited football capital available in their home countries — and accessing overseas capital gives them a chance to compete against cashed-up clubs with billionaire owners.

However, it only really works because football teams legitimately lay claim to international appeal.

While the Broncos may dream of the branding appeal of Juventus or Manchester United — the hard truth is that very few people outside Australia know who the Broncos are or what Rugby League is.

 

This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.