With interest in the World Cup at a fever pitch there are a lot of new sports fans out there this week. Behind the games being played in Brazil or in stadiums and arenas all over the world there is a very big business. Nick Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx looked into just how big it really is.
The four big professional sports leagues here in the U.S. (NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA) are estimated to be worth a combined $80 billion. Add in the major soccer (or football) leagues in Europe and that figure eclipses $100 billion.And those are just the biggest leagues in the world. There are many more you've probably never heard of.
"The magic of the asset class is people want to watch sports in real time and in a world where we're time shifting everything and watching things on the fly when we want sports is that last event we all gather together and watch as a group," Colas says.
That attitude toward live sports mean big money for the people television sports. "You've seen various networks really pay up for things - the Olympics or the NFL - and realize they're not overpaying because that is the last type of viewing that we all want to do in real time," Colas notes.
And that is how the average Joe can get in on the action. If you don't have the cash to buy the Clippers from their disgraced former owner like Steve Balmer did, and you don't want to own token shares in "public" franchises like the Green Bay Packers, Colas notes that those derivative plays, namely companies televising sports are the way to go.
Still want more? Well you could own a piece of one of the most famous and historic soccer (or football) clubs on the planet. Manchester United (MANU) trades on the New York Stock Exchange and it is up nearly 25% from it's IPO almost two years ago.