Aug 10, 2012, 1:35 PM EDT
One month after a bread line of experts giving implied opinions on the sanity of potential MANU (stock symbol) buyers hasn’t stopped Manchester United from floating shares of the club on the New York Stock Exchange. The offering may have opened at a lowered price of $14 per share (when $16-20 had been speculated), but the price has held. As of this typing, MANU was trading at $14.02 (see it now) which would still value the club at the $2.3 billion Forbes magazine speculated when making its list of the most valuable sports teams in the world.
In the lead up to today’s IPO, I’d decided to be surprised if the stock didn’t tank. But I’m not. Perhaps that’s because I do things like decide when to be surprised, but that’s not important. What is (or, was) important is this stock gets you almost nothing. There are no plans for dividends, and the voting rights are diluted such that the Glazer family (current owners) can’t lose control of the club. While all those bitter blog posts about the inanity of this offering my have been fueled by bitter, jaded incredulity at some NFL types being able to use amoral U.S. finance to buy one of England’s storied clubs, they analysis was still right. Buying this stock is little more than handing the Glazers your money so they can pay down their debt. You’re giving them the money they used to buy Manchester United.
But I didn’t think out my decision to be surprised. I looked at it from my ivory tower of judgmental cynicism, not from the point of view of a United fan. For them, it’s $14 of deflated United States currency to be able to say “I own a piece of my favorite club.” Is it a significant piece? Is it something that is actually worth $14 in real terms? Doesn’t matter. Give a fan a chance to buy a piece of the club for a fraction of a ticket price and it sounds like a deal.
Fans buy tons of things that have little real world value. They buy subscriptions to websites, video channels, and fanzines. They buy commemorative programs, shirts, and scarves. They fly around the world to see their club. They call player signatures autographs want them on paper they’ll eventually lose, the material far less valuable then the memory of a player doing anything at their behest.
Compared to all these things, a sliver of ownership is a big deal. You get to say you own part of the club, which in the circles fans tend to run in has more cache than saying Jonny Evans signed your World Football Challenge ticket. The stock’s only meaningless to us that don’t care.
The Glazer family have offered a foolish investment, one that mocks its supporters while belittling their intelligence. But it doesn’t belittle their emotion – their blind devotion to crest and color. The Glazers have made them owners.
May 18, 2013, 10:33 PM EDT
Highlights and context as “Jack Mac” scores his league-leading 8th goal:
May 18, 2013, 9:50 PM EDT
Cascadia Cup matches are always interesting, and Saturday’s 2-2 draw at BC Place was full of talking points:
May 18, 2013, 8:24 PM EDT
it was a big crowd pleaser on two fronts when the Whitecaps’ forward stroked an unstoppable free kick against Portland:
May 18, 2013, 8:05 PM EDT
The young Timbers’ attacker is having an outstanding season for the Jeld-Wen Field bunch:
May 18, 2013, 7:38 PM EDT
Higuain created the game’s only goal and was masterful in possession at BMO Field:
May 18, 2013, 6:44 PM EDT
An appearance next week in Paris Saint-Germain’s final match 2012-13 season doesn’t seem to be in the plans for the retiring superstar:
May 18, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT
Video: Reports out of England say today was the former England captain’s final match, rather than next week as expected:
May 18, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT
Depth at United will allow David Moyes to hut big game this offseason.
May 18, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT
David Beckham’s not dropping off your radar anytime soon.
May 18, 2013, 2:01 PM EDT
Before Monaco takes on Europe, they have to convince French soccer.
May 18, 2013, 1:17 PM EDT
Manchester City’s former boss reaches out to his supportive fan base – his first public comments since his Monday dismissal.
May 18, 2013, 12:28 PM EDT
Mercifully, the season’s come to an end for the 17 clubs who tried to keep pace with Bayern Munich.
May 18, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT
Manchester United’s outgoing boss was amazed but not surprised at his rival’s dismissal.
May 18, 2013, 10:22 AM EDT
Relegation’s decided. So’s the title and two of the league’s Europa League spots. All that’s left? The battle for top four.
May 18, 2013, 9:16 AM EDT
Russian oligarchs, third-party ownership, tax havens, and €60 million moves. This one has everything.
May 18, 2013, 8:11 AM EDT
One of the Premier League’s one-club men says goodbye at Anfield.
May 17, 2013, 7:32 PM EDT
Wait a doggone minute! Didn’t Philadelphia and Chicago just play?
May 17, 2013, 6:45 PM EDT
Brest and FC Lorient will be the opposition for retiring midfielder’s final two pro matches:
May 17, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT
Something we should fold into the ongoing Landon Donovan-U.S. national team debate:
May 17, 2013, 5:10 PM EDT
David Beckham has an option to purchase an MLS expansion franchise, and that has zero to do with Chivas USA:
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