Investing is more enjoyable and easier to do when you're actually interested in your holdings. What could be a better way to do that than investing in sports? Though many sports teams are private, a few lucky investors can own shares in their favorite teams, and there are other less direct ways to put some skin in the sports game, such as investing in equipment makers.
Let's take a look at a few ways that sports fans can mix their favorite hobby with their investments.
Get behind your team
A handful of sports are publicly traded. If your favorite team is on the list below, you could own a stake in it.
|Atlanta Braves||Liberty Braves (BATRA 1.06%)|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Rogers Communications (RCI 0.24%)|
|New York Knicks||Madison Square Garden (MSGN)|
|Toronto Raptors||Rogers Communications; BCE, Inc. (BCE 0.71%)|
|New York Rangers||Madison Square Garden|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Rogers Communications; BCE
|Manchester United||Manchester United (MANU 0.67%)|
As the list above shows, the options for investing in your favorite teams are thin, and of the group only Manchester United and the Atlanta Braves really offer pure plays. The Braves are a part of Liberty Media Group, but a separate tracking ticker was created last year for investor interested in just the assets of the team.
Madison Square is fairly close to a pure play, as its assets include the Knicks and Rangers, as well the New York Liberty of the WNBA, the Hartford Wolf Pack of American Hockey League, and the Westchester Knicks of the NBA's Development League. The company also owns several venues in addition to the namesake arena, including Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theater, The Chicago Theater, and others. Its parent company, Madison Square Networks (NYSE: MSGN), owns the cable network MSG that broadcast Knicks and Rangers games, as well as other sports content.
The remaining teams on the list constitute a small percentage of their parent companies' holdings. Canadian telecom giant Rogers is valued at $23 billion, for example, and its partner in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the majority owner of the Maple Leafs and Raptors, is Bell Wireless parent BCE, which is worth $39 billion.
Liberty Media also offers the chance to invest in the Formula One Racing Series through Liberty Media Formula One (Nasdaq: LMCA). The pro-wrestling league World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE 0.71%) is also publicly traded.
A more conventional path for investors looking to get involved in the sports world is with equipment, footwear, and apparel makers. Golfers may want to take a look at Callaway Golf (MODG 0.24%), the only pure-play golf equipment company on the market.
For a more mainstream play, Nike (NKE -0.21%) and Under Armour (UA -1.25%) (UAA -0.78%) are longtime favorites, and Adidas (ADDYY -0.34%) has been on the rise over the past year. While you might think of these companies as separate from the sports world, they're tied to the fates and fortunes of teams in more ways than you think.
Those three companies compete intensely for talent in the form of athlete and team sponsorships, as signing the next star can be a huge boon for these sportswear makers. Nike continues to make billions in sales a year off of its Jordan brand, for example, and Steph Curry helped jump-start Under Armour's basketball business. Under Armour has also spent big on college marketing deals, recently signing a contract with UCLA for $280 million over 15 years.
When Lebron James and Stephen Curry faced off in the Finals last year, many saw it as a proxy for Nike vs. Under Armour. The two superstars could meet again this year as well.
And there are signs that the performance of such athletes can have an effect on the stocks of the brands they wear. When Under Armour's Jordan Spieth choked last year and lost the Masters golf tournament, Under Armour shares fell by 6% the following day. Though that drop may not have been entirely because of Spieth, it still weighed on the brand and investors' consciousness.
Sportswear stocks like Nike and Under Armour had surged following the recession, but more recently they've pulled back as growth has slowed. Under Armour stock has crumbled on competition from Adidas and as the "athleisure" trend fades.
Sports fans should remember that in investing, being a fan isn't enough. Before taking stake in a sports-related stock, do your research to make sure that the business case for the company is a winner.