Sports fans can invest in having real skin in the game.
While it is rare for sports franchises to be publicly traded entities, the concept is not entirely new. Take Manchester United
for example, which has seen its shares rise recently as billionaires throw their hats in the ring to take over the iconic English soccer club. First, Tesla TSLA CEO Elon Musk joked about purchasing Manchester United, before British billionaire and Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe told MarketWatch that he is interested in buying the beloved football club.
The Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC owner John Henry also made headlines in 2021 when they attempted to make those teams part of a public holding. The $8 billion deal would have combined Fenway Sports Group LLC, which owns the Red Sox and the English soccer club Liverpool FC, with RedBall Acquisition Corp. RBAC, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) dedicated to sports business — but the talks fell apart.
But in fact, several sports franchises are publicly traded in some manner, or are part of a larger company listed on a stock exchange.
So here is a list of some professional sports teams you can invest in:
Manchester United FC
the most decorated soccer club in England, has 20 Premier League titles and has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 2012.
The stock opened at $14 a share and has seen modest losses since then, trading at above $13.94 per share as of Thursday.
Just like any other publicly traded company, Manchester United has to disclose earnings and revenues, which are tied to things like TV contracts and ticket sales — the Glazer Family, which also owns the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, controls is the majority shareholder of soccer club. (It should be noted, however, that the Glazers are coming under pressure to sell the club, which has spurred the chatter from Ratcliffe and Musk.)
Manchester United’s stock carries a market cap of $2.23 billion, but would likely fetch more than that if sold on the open market. Forbes has valued the team at $4.6 billion as of 2022.
New York Knicks, New York Rangers
The Madison Square Garden Sports Corp.
encompasses several sports holdings from principal owner Jim Dolan. These include the NBA’s New York Knicks and their G League affiliate the Westchester Knicks, as well as the NHL’s New York Rangers and their AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack, and MSG’s eSports business.
Because both the Knicks and Rangers have been part of larger holdings from Cablevision and subsequently Madison Square Garden over the years, it would not be possible to get relevant data on how the Knicks and Rangers have performed over time.
Madison Square Garden Entertainment
was spun off from its sports business in April 2020, creating a separate publicly traded company for MSG’s entertainment arm, which includes the Madison Square Garden arena in New York City and Radio City Music Hall.
An investment in Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. isn’t necessarily an investment in just the Knicks or Rangers franchise, however, but an investment in all the teams listed above. Profits for the company are tied to things like TV contracts and ticketing revenue.
Madison Square Garden Sports has a market cap of $3.9 billion. Forbes has valued the Knicks at $5.8 billion and the Rangers at $2 billion as of 2021
The most successful club in Italy’s Serie A soccer league has been listed on the Borsa Italiana stock exchange since 2001.
is currently trading at €0.377 per share, down nearly 70% from its original listing. Juventus’s stock did get a brief boost after news of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo transferring to the club in 2018, but those gains have dissipated since then — and Ronaldo has since left the club.
The stock carries a market cap of €950.33 million, but like Manchester United, would likely go for more if sold. Juventus is owned by the Agnellis, a dynastic Italian family who founded Fiat
MLB’s Atlanta Braves have been owned by the publicly traded Liberty Media
Liberty Media is a huge corporation that decided to spin off the Braves from other parts of its business into a separate tracking stock for the team in 2015 to raise capital.
The Braves are now included in a holding called Liberty Braves Group
It’s not just a stock that tracks the finances of the baseball team, however — the real estate developments around the Atlanta Braves stadium, called Battery Atlanta, are also included in the holdings.
A tracking stock is typically issued by a parent company to monitor the performance of a part of its overall business. Unlike common stockholders, owners of tracking stocks typically have little to no voting rights at shareholders’ meetings.
In 2022, Forbes valued the Atlanta Braves at $2.1 billion, more than quadrupling its value compared with 2010.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned franchise in the NFL, but the team is not publicly traded. The team is owned by Green Bay Packers Inc., a publicly held non-profit corporation made of 537,000 shareholders.
While the team does refer to these as “common stocks”, owners do not have the rights of typical common stocks owners. The stock pays no dividends, cannot be traded and has no securities law protection.
The Packers stock also cannot increase in value and is not tied to the team’s revenue in any way. Basically, the stock is a team memorabilia.
There have been six stock issues since 1923; the last issuance came in 2021 to raise capital for renovations to Lambeau Field, the stadium where the team plays.
Analysts have called the Packers shares a “worthless stock, in that it has no pecuniary value for the owner.”
German soccer club Borussia Dortmund
is the only soccer team in Germany that is publicly traded. Dortmund’s stock has been trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB) since 2000.
Borussia Dortmund’s stock is down 47.25% over the last 12 months, and carries a market cap of $477.33 million.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays are the only teams in Major League Baseball under corporate ownership.
While the Blue Jays franchise itself isn’t publicly traded, the team has been owned by the publicly traded Rogers Communications
Rogers has so many business holdings in media and telecommunications that the baseball team is just a small part of the total company assets. So investors cannot directly invest into the Blue Jays; only indirectly through Rogers Communications.
Because Rogers is so large, it’s difficult to assess the monetary value of the Blue Jays within the larger company.