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Aug 11

How to invest in football clubs

Reading Time: 5 mins

Football, in its modern form, has existed for over 150 years. Despite this, global interest in the beautiful game continues to grow.

The Premier League recently stuck a £5.3bn deal for oversees TV rights over the next three seasons, a tad more than the £5.1bn deal it agreed with domestic broadcasters over the same period. In total, this represents a 16% increase compared to the previous broadcasting cycle.

Growing interest in the game isn’t solely reserved for the men’s game, however.

Women’s football has dominated the headlines in recent weeks following the Lionesses successful Euro 2022 campaign. Encouragingly, women’s football has also been boosted by fresh investment from the FA in a year that’s almost certain to see previous attendance records smashed.

So, if you’re one of the billions with an interest in the game, how can you invest in your favourite team (even if you don’t have billions)? And is it a good idea to invest in football?

Keep on reading for all the details or click on a link to head straight to a section…

Which football clubs can you buy shares in?

While you may be keen to buy shares in your favourite football team, it’s likely you can only buy shares in football clubs that are traded on a public stock exchange.

Here is a list of big football clubs that sell shares on a public stock exchange.

Club League Stock Exchange
Manchester United English Premier Legaue New York Stock Exchange
Celtic Scotish Premier League London Stock Exchange (AIM)
Juventus Serie A Milan Stock Exchange
Roma Serie A Borsa Italiana
Lazio Serie A Borsa Italiana
Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga Frankfurt Stock Exchange
FC Porto Liga Portugal Euronext Lisbon
Sporting Lisbon Liga Portugal Euronext Lisbon
Benfica Liga Portugal Euronext Lisbon
Ajax Eredivisie Euronext Amsterdam

Let’s take a closer look at the two British clubs that feature in the above list:

MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United is listed on the New York Stock exchange with the Glazer family owning just under 70% of total shares. Since listing on the exchange in 2012, the club has experienced mixed fortunes.

When Manchester United won their last league title back in April 2013, a single share in the Red Devils was worth $17.75 USD.

Since then, Manchester United’s share price has generally headed upwards. In 2018, United’s share price topped $26.20 on 31 August, despite finishing the 2017/18 season 19 points behind league champions Manchester City.

More recently however, the club’s share price has slumped. One Manchester United share is now worth just $11.39 at the time of writing (on 10 August 2022). This represents a 22% fall since the year began.

Earlier this year the club revealed its commercial revenues took a £47-million hit in 2021, which might partly explain why its share price has suffered badly in 2022.

CELTIC

Arguably Scotland’s biggest club (unless you’re a Rangers fan) Glasgow Celtic is listed on the ‘Alternative Investment Market’ arm of the London Stock Exchange.

During the 2021/22 season Celtic revealed that its revenues would be ‘significantly higher than market expectations,’ after return to full attendances following Covid-19 shutdowns.

While we won’t know Celtic’s full finances until the club posts its results next month, in the six months to December 2021, the Hoops reported its revenues had increased 29.9% to £52.9m.

Celtic are the current Scottish champions and have won 9 of the last 10 league titles.

How can you buy shares in football clubs?

While we don’t necessarily recommend you invest in any of the above teams, if you do wish to buy shares in an individual football club, you’ll first need to choose a broker to buy shares.

If you wish to buy shares in a football club that isn’t listed on a British stock exchange, you’ll have to ensure your chosen broker allows you to buy shares in firms listed on an overseas exchange.

New to investing? Investing is now easier than ever. Nowadays you can buy shares for as little as a tenner. However, the right platform for you will depend on a number of variables including whether you plan to trade regularly, and how much you value customer service.

Here’s a quick lowdown of two popular platforms:

  • eToro is a popular investing platform in which to buy shares as the firm doesn’t charge
    commission or management fees. While share dealing fees do apply, fees start from as little
    as $10.
  • Hargreaves Lansdown is another popular investing platform. While the company isn’t the cheapest (£11.95 per trade, plus a £45 annual platform charge) it’s an established brand and often scores highly on customer service.

To learn more about the process of buying shares, take a look at our guide that explains how to buy shares.

Remember, as with any investing the value of your investment can rise and fall. Always do your own research and understand the risks. If you’re completely new to investing, take the time to read our guide to the basic principles of investing.

Is it possible to invest in Women’s football?

As interest in women’s football is growing you may be tempted to invest in the sport.

However, it isn’t possible to invest directly in the national ‘Women’s Super League’. That’s because it’s run and owned by the Football Association.

On a similar note, it isn’t possible to invest in most women’s football teams either. Instead, if you wish to financially support a women’s team you essentially have to invest in the men’s team as well. That’s because male and female teams of the same club are usually part of the same entity.

So, if you want to invest in a Women’s Super League team, the only choice you have is to invest in Manchester United Women Football Club (MUWFC). To do this you must buy shares in Manchester United, which MUWFC is part of.

However, if you’re happy to look further afield, then the good news is that all of the clubs mentioned in the table in the section above also has a women’s football team (except FC Porto). This means by buying shares in any of above clubs you will, in some part, also be investing in women’s football.

Is it a good idea to invest in football clubs?

Football clubs are often described as ‘money pits’ and for good reason. Check the back of any sports page and you’ll find stories littered with clubs being close to bankruptcy while simultaneously paying out enormous wages to star players.

It’s also worth knowing that many club owners are already enormously wealthy, and do not invest in football to make money. Instead, some owners say they invest purely for ‘the love of the game’. It can be argued that this is more likely to be the case for owners investing in less glamorous clubs, such as those sitting in the lower levels of the football pyramid.

For bigger Premier League clubs, owners are probably more likely to invest for other purposes, from personal brand-building, to ‘sport washing.’

While you may be unlikely to conduct a full takeover of a football club yourself, acquiring a tiny slice of a club by buying shares though a public stock exchange can be a relatively easy way to get closer to your team.

If you do go ahead and buy shares in your favourite team it’s probably a good idea not to invest more than you can afford to lose. In other words, if you want to be happy with a football investment it’s best to put your money into a club purely for your own personal enjoyment. If you don’t, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position of being annoyed at your team’s performance, both on and off the pitch!

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence. 

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