- Invision Agency/Jack Dempsey for Papa John’s
Investors have a new opportunity to bet on the companies that sponsor the big four US sports leagues: the MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA.
SportsETFs, a California-based firm, has launched its Pro Sports Sponsors ETF, which tracks the firm’s Pro Sports Sponsors Index. It began trading Tuesday morning under the ticker FANZ on Bats, the Kansas-based US stock exchange operator
The logos of the 66 companies covered by the index, which include the likes of Pepsi, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, are ubiquitous at American stadiums and arenas.
“The equally weighted index seeks to take advantage of the growth potential of companies that partner with professional sports leagues and offers broad market exposure with holdings in several sectors, including consumer discretionary, information technology, financials, energy, and healthcare,” according to a news release.
Cofounder and chief strategy officer, Jim Kozimer, is a sports broadcast Swiss Army knife for NBC, covering everything from local Californian soccer teams to the Olympics. He told Business Insider the idea for SportsETFs stemmed from a desire to create a financial product that would expose investors to the highly-profitable sports industry.
“As a sports broadcaster I noticed how much money could be made from this industry, and that’s how the idea came to fruition,” he said.
“Companies that are affiliated with the major American sports leagues are some of the most recognizable and trusted companies in the world,” he added.
Kozimer said he and cofounder Nick Fullerton are certain investors will pour into FANZ because people like to invest in what they know.
“Following the investment strategy of the famed portfolio manager Peter Lynch, who said, “invest in what you know,” sports fans now have the opportunity to invest in a diversified portfolio of brands that they recognize in one fund,” Kozimer said.
To be sure, investing in what you know is not always a good idea. Snap, which has been popular investment choice with young investors familiar with firm’s messaging application, is now below it’s IPO price.
The index is set to rebalance about four times per year, according to Fullerton, as sports teams change their corporate sponsors throughout the year.
ETFs, which simply track an index, have hoovered up assets at a high rate over the past decade. US-listed ETFs saw $283 billion in net inflows during 2016, taking aggregate assets under management to $2.5 trillion, according to Citigroup.
The appeal is obvious. ETFs provide cheap and easy access to asset classes and sectors, without having to buy an individual stock or bond of a company.
Hundreds of industry and sector-specific ETFs, covering everything from coal to gold to biotech, have come to market in recent years. And US exchanges have been fighting hard for them to list on their platform. They see ETF listings as a saving grace amid an otherwise weak IPO market.
But many of these industry and sector-specific ETFs fizzle out after they begin trading and become what is known in the industry as “zombie ETFs.” Such funds are traded infrequently and so their investors, as a result, have very little liquidity.
Fullerton told Business Insider, FANZ won’t be another zombie.
“This isn’t like a whiskey ETF tracking large and small companies exposed to the whiskey industry, for example,” Fullerton said.”People are going to be attracted to FANZ because of the breadth of companies it covers.”