Sports fans can have real skin in the game.
While it is rare for sports franchises to be publicly traded entities, the concept is not entirely foreign. Take Manchester United MANU, -0.04%, 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, with British businessman Michael Knighton floating a takeover plan early this month. Then, Tesla TSLA CEO Elon Musk joked on Twitter 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 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 Premier League soccer club Liverpool FC, with RedBall Acquisition Corp. RBAC, a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, dedicated to sports business — but those talks fell apart.
From the archives (March 2021): LeBron James takes ownership stake in parent company of Boston Red Sox and soccer power Liverpool
Several sports franchises are publicly traded in some manner, or are part of a larger company listed on a stock exchange.
The following is a list of professional sports teams you can invest in.
Manchester United FC
Manchester United, the most decorated soccer club in England, has 20 top-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 $13.94 per share as of Thursday after peaking above $26 in August 2018.
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, is the majority shareholder of club. (It should be noted that the Glazers are coming under pressure to sell the club, which has spurred the chatter about a takeover.)
Manchester United 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.
New York Knicks and New York Rangers
The Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. MSGS, +0.56% encompasses several sports holdings of 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, plus 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, relevant data on how investments in the Knicks and Rangers have performed over time are not available.
Madison Square Garden Entertainment MSGE, +2.33% was spun off from its sports business in April 2020, creating a separate publicly traded company for MSG’s entertainment arm, which includes the famed Madison Square Garden arena and Radio City Music Hall.
An investment in Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. isn’t necessarily an investment in just the Knicks and Rangers, however, but in all the teams under the entity’s umbrella. 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.
Juventus JUVE, -0.05% is currently trading at €0.377 per share, down nearly 70% from its listing decades ago. Juventus’s stock did get a brief boost after news of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s transferring to the club in 2018, but those gains have dissipated since then — and Ronaldo has since left for Manchester United.
The club carries a market cap of €950.33 million, but, like Manchester United, it would likely go for more if sold. Juventus is owned by the Agnellis, a dynastic Italian family that notably founded Fiat FCA.UT, +0.76% Motor Co. Forbes valued the team at $2.45 billion in 2022.
MLB’s Atlanta Braves have been owned by the publicly traded Liberty Media LSXMA, -1.39% since 2007.
Liberty Media is a huge corporation that decided to spin off the Braves from other parts of its business as a separate tracking stock in 2015 to raise capital.
The Braves are now included in a holding called Liberty Braves Group BATRK, -0.37%. 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 or no voting rights at shareholder 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 nonprofit corporation made up of 537,000 shareholders.
While the team does refer to these as “common stocks,” owners do not have the rights of typical common-stock owners. The stock pays no dividends, cannot be traded and enjoys 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 functions as a piece of sporting memorabilia.
There have been six stock issuances since 1923; the last came in 2021 to raise capital for renovations to Lambeau Field, the legendary 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 BORUF, +6.93% is the only soccer team in Germany that is publicly traded. Dortmund’s stock has been traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since 2000.
Borussia Dortmund shares are down 47.25% over the last 12 months, putting the club’s market cap at $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 RCI, +0.09% since 2000.
Rogers has so many business holdings in media and telecommunications that the baseball team composes just a small part of total assets. So investors cannot directly invest in the Blue Jays.
Because Rogers is so large, it’s difficult to assess the monetary value of the Blue Jays within the larger company.