Making matters worse? The once mighty Man United’s last significant championship was a UEFA Europa League win in 2017 and its last Premier League crown came way back in 2013.
What’s more, shares have soared nearly 35% in the past three months. So why is Manchester United stock doing so well?
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of chemicals giant Ineos, said last month that he is interested in buying the team if the Glazer family, who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wants to sell.
Sports as the ultimate long-term investment bet
Top sports franchises like Man United generate huge revenue streams from merchandising sales and broadcasting rights.
United will report its latest earnings on September 22. Sales are expected to surge more than 40% from a year ago and the club’s passionate fans are not likely to abandon the team just because its Premier League rivals Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have fared better in recent years.
“Absolutely if you have enough last place finishes, that affects ticket sales,” said Christopher Zook, chairman and chief investment officer at CAZ Investments, a private equity firm that invests in sports franchises. “But the reason why we got attracted to sports in the first place is because they make a lot of money.”
Zook’s firm has an investment in the Fenway Sports Group, the company that owns the Boston Red Sox as well as the Liverpool soccer club, another Premier League favorite.
Man United is a rarity in the world of sports and finance. It’s one of the few publicly traded major sports franchises. But there are some others.
And shares of two top rivals of United are publicly traded on European exchanges: Germany’s Borussia Dortmund trades in Frankfurt while Italy’s Juventus is listed in Milan.