Shares of Juventus and Manchester United climb on super league news

Competition could attract more valuable broadcasting rights than Champions League

 

Shares of Juventus Football Club and Manchester United climbed after the two clubs joined controversial new plans for a European “super league” that could transform revenue streams at the top level of the sport.

Juventus’s stock rose as much as 14 per cent to 89 cents in Milan, the most in a year, while United gained 8 per cent to $17.50 on low volume during premarket trading in New York.

The new competition could attract more valuable broadcasting rights than the €2 billion of television revenue earned by Europe’s current most prestigious tournament, the Uefa Champions League, according to Alberto Francese, head of corporate broking research at Intesa Sanpaolo.

Sales from ticketing, sponsorships and merchandising would benefit too, given the likely quality of matches and audience of the clubs, Francese said in emailed comments as he put his “add” rating on Juventus’s shares under review.

Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli and United co-chairman Joel Glazer are set to be vice chairs of the breakaway group, with Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez chairman. Under the plan, 15 founding teams would share an up-front payment of €3.5 billion.

Even shares of teams not part of the breakaway group were boosted by news of the plan. Germany’s Borussia Dortmund GmbH and Co KGaA rose as much as 9.8 per cent, while AFC Ajax NV of the Netherlands gained 1.9 per cent. The original group of 12 will later become 15 and another five will qualify each year.

BT Group, which currently holds Champions League broadcasting rights in the UK, advanced 0.1 per cent despite concern around the impact on the tournament.

Valuable clubs

“The clear implication is a significant diminution of the value of the rights for the exiting Uefa Champions League which, presumably, would either be made entirely redundant or continue without the participation of some/most of the most important and valuable clubs,” Citigroup analysts including Thomas Singlehurst wrote in a note to clients.

However, “With so much criticism, including from some grassroots supporters, it is tempting to assume that the proposed Super League will not get off the ground,” the analysts added.

Along with objections from Uefa, Europe’s top soccer body, political leaders from UK prime minister Boris Johnson to former Italian premier Enrico Letta have voiced concerns.

The news follows a year in which soccer clubs’ incomes were slashed by the pandemic preventing fans from entering stadiums. Juventus shares remain down more than 30 per cent since the start of 2020. – Bloomberg