BOS. The letters stood out to me as I read the L.A. Times business section back in the 80s. I was barely exposed to the stock market and its cryptic code for stock symbols and accompanying fractions and numbers, but I knew that BOS was the NYSE stock ticker symbol for the Boston Celtics LLC and ownership in the NBA basketball team that embodied the likes of Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and championships upon championships. And I knew as far back as then that I could participate in the sports and entertainment ownership through the stock market and other investments.
Building My Sports-folio
Fast forward to modern times and mobile investment apps like Stash and Robinhood. I spread my discretionary funds across multiple investment portfolios in both tax-free and taxable brokerage accounts, but I use a portion of my Stash and Robinhood accounts to build what I call my “sports-folio.” This includes stocks with connections to MLB, NHL, NBA, and Premier League Soccer. Despite their popularity, I did not venture into the realm of video games or sports betting. I try my best to keep the sports-folio focused on positions in companies that offer more than just a sports segment.
The sports-folio is a combination of individual stocks that are predominantly related to sports including some notable professional sports teams and sports equipment companies. Despite how grandiose it might sound, this sector of my investments represents less than 10% of my overall taxable investment portfolio and it is not even close to 5% of my entire investments including retirement accounts. I hedge my sports-folio stock picks with a Dogs of the Dow dividend-paying portfolio allocation combined with a heavy index ETF position related to both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. The structure of the overall portfolio grants me the latitude to proudly amuse myself with a minor ownership stake in both sports and entertainment through various stocks.
Sports and Nothing But Sports
A portion of my sports-folio is strictly sports stocks with nothing extra attached to them. These stocks usually do not pay much in the form of dividends and they most certainly do not experience much fluctuation in price.
These strictly sports stocks include:
- MANU: Manchester United (Premier League Soccer)
- BATRA: Liberty Media Atlanta Braves (MLB)
- FWONA: Liberty Media Formula One Racing; Drone Racing; Atlanta Braves (MLB); stadium ownership and multimedia
- GOLF: Acushnet Holdings (Golf equipment names such as Titleist, Scotty Cameron, and Vokey)
These stocks represent a minor stake and minimal percentage of my taxable portfolio. Of all of these, Liberty Media’s Atlanta Braves(BATRA) is up 35% over the past 3 months.
Sports and Entertainment
This set of stocks have taken a beating with COVID-19 over the past year simply because a handful of them own amusement and theme parks as well as arenas under their entertainment business segments. Most of these stocks are teetering under the pressure social distancing and quarantine orders limiting large gatherings. Thank God that these stocks only amount to about 3% of my taxable investments.
- DIS: Disney (ESPN, HULU Live Sports, ABC Sports)
- CMCSA: Comcast (NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Philadelphia Flyers)
- MSGS: Madison Square Garden Sports (New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden sports TV broadcasting)
- BCS: Barclays (naming rights for NBA basketball arena for the Brooklyn Nets & Premier League Soccer sponsorship)
These battered stocks are still suffering as we speak. Disney recently eliminated its annual dividend. MSGS is the result of a recent stock split of MSG. At this point, Barclays (BCS) and Comcast (CMCSA) appear to have the best shot at remaining steady in the near future. Other than that, I do not think that I am going to hang my retirement hopes on Disney Plus subscriptions and cheap golf tee times via the GolfPass or GolfNow sites.
Sports on the Side
This small portion of my portfolio includes just two stocks: VICI Properties (VICI) and Rogers Communications (RCI). Rogers Communications is a Canadian media and communications company that includes numerous television and radio stations in addition to MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre. VICI Properties is a diversified real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns 4 premiere golf courses along with its other properties. Both stocks pay decent dividends with a combined yield above 3%. Combine that yield with the 1.48% yield of Acushnet Holdings (GOLF), and I stand to offset some of the theatre and theme park losses from Disney and Comcast.
Bragging Rights Despites No Clear Winners
The NBA season has started and revealed a trade for a dominant and championship-hungry trio playing in Brooklyn and the New York Knicks have a squad that seems to be maturing and making headway, but I do not see the NBA championship coming through either New York team or my sports-folio this season. Neither the Braves nor the Blue Jays appear equipped to eliminate the Dodgers and their World Series reign. If anyone seems to fit the profile of a winner, it seems like Manchester United might fit the bill if they can contend with Chelsea’s American soccer sensation Christian Pulisic.
At the end of the day, when I browse my sports-folio and see the varying spikes up and down on the charts, I rarely expect a major announcement on CNBC’s Squawk Box about how any of these are doing beyond big market capitalization stocks like Disney and Comcast. At best, I can look at my sports-folio and turn on ESPN or the Golf Channel with a slight grin on my face, knowing that I own a piece of the action on the screen. And that’s just fine with me.