News emerged on Sunday of a breakaway “European Super League comprising 12 or more of Europe’s top football teams, in direct competition with UEFA’s flagship Champions League and Europa League tournaments. It has major implications for the owners of listed stock in several top European sides.
It’s a topic that has already stirred strong feelings among players, managers and fans alike. But with the motives predominantly financial, what has been the immediate effect on stock valuations for those clubs that are publicly traded?
Those clubs participating in the league have already seen a major boost to their stock prices. Shares in Juventus (MIL:JUVE) rose 12% while Manchester United (LON:MANU) shares were up 9%. Also traded in the US, Manchester United shares were up over 9.4% at the open in New York Monday.
“The financial incentive for the clubs is plain to see, with a multi-billion dollar package at the heart of the scheme, albeit it would forever break the integrity of the club game,” said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson. “The sort of additional revenues the ESL will deliver would need to be offset by a potential material decline or total loss of existing earnings from media deals through national leagues and UEFA.”
Shares in Borussia Dortmund and Ajax were higher, although they are not currently among the 12 founding clubs.
“It’s hard to say what will happen next…”
While Bayern Munich and PSG are not publicly traded, stock in Borussia Dortmund (for the remaining 49% stake not reserved for traditional German fan ownership) is already up over 10% since trading opened this morning in Frankfurt.
“While an initial rise in share prices for those breaking away was always to be expected, with revenue growth one of the key drivers behind the move, it is hard to say what will happen next,” said Naeem Aslam, Chief Market Analyst at AvaTrade. “How will the stock of publicly traded clubs and European stalwarts such as AS Roma and FC Porto, outsiders to the European Super League, react to the prospect of major devaluation in their regular domestic and European competitions?”
The stock market and the European football scene are reaching simultaneous crests of volatility this year, making almost anything possible. Will we see another grassroots investment drive, for instance, where fans club together to drive up the stock price of a publicly traded club outside the European Super League – perhaps an objector, such as Borussia Dortmund?
Milan-traded Juventus Footbal Club saw some heavy buying during the European trading session, up more than 17%. The shares are still well off their high for the year however. Juventus investors will still be smarting from the plunge in the club’s stock from 2H 2020.
And yes the performance of AS Roma (MIL:ASR) shares were marked in their behaviour – the club’s stock has hardly moved in trading today. Shares in Borussia Dortmund GmbH (FRA:BVB) were up 11.4% at the close by contrast. Even if the fans and players may not be getting behind the idea of a European Super League, it looks live investors certainly are.
The big question will be what will such a league look like? The founding teams of this league are obviously seeking more control over how revenue in professional European football is controlled and divided, but one major factor will be the ability of these clubs to lure younger stars, as it may be that playing in the Super League will mean they do not get the opportunity to play for their countries.