Manchester United: The first three billion dollar team
Ten percent of Manchester United was floated on the New York Stock Exchange back in August 2012, and shares initially performed sluggishly.
But following several announcements of global sponsorship agreements, the last few days has seen the share price soar to just under $17 growing United’s enterprise value to $3.3 billion.
United is comfortably ahead of the second most valuable sports team in the world—the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, worth $2.1 billion (£1.4 billion).
Despite a drop in first quarter earnings because of a reduction in television revenue, the appetite for shares of the 19-time English champion has increased due to better earnings, new sponsorship deals with Japan's Kansai, and China Construction Bank, and the potential of much more lucrative English Premiership (Manchester United currently is in first place) and Champions League payouts this year.
Manchester United has been busy making new inroads into China in recent months and following the announcement of the CCB deal, United’s Commercial Director Richard Arnold stated (via ManUtd.com):
Manchester United has a huge following in China of 108 million. We know from our visits there, including to Shanghai last summer, that our Chinese followers have always been among the most supportive.
As well as United's commercial growth, qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages and the prospect of record Premier League television revenue from next season appear to be driving the share price up.
It represents another significant milestone in the continuing growth of Manchester United.
The Glazer family, who hold the controlling interest and billionaire investor George Soros, who recently bought a 7.5 percent stake, will be the significant winners from these latest results.
Publicly traded sports teams have traditionally been bad investments. But so far Manchester United is stemming that tide, despite a well publicised £359.7 million gross debt.
Is this great news for Manchester United or just a further lining of the Glazer’s pockets? Give me your views below or hit me up on Twitter @jonathanbeever.